Home Page Link Thaxted - under the present flightpath and threatened with quadrupled activity Takeley's 12th century parish church, close to proposed second runway Harcamlow Way, Bamber's Green - much of the long distance path and village would disappear under Runway 2 Clavering - typical of the Uttlesford villages threatened by urbanisation
Campaigning against proposals to expand Stansted Airport

image SSE NEWS ARCHIVE - October to December 2012


Airport Watch Blog - December 2012

Climate change will be the factor which will ultimately restrict the growth in aviation. And yet in the myriad of proposals for new runways and gleaming new airports, it hardly features. I suspect this is partly because it is the inconvenient truth that would sound the death-knell of many of the proposals. But it is also because the aviation industry has now adopted a reassuring position: don't worry, we understand the problem and are dealing with it through new technology and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

Green Technology and Emissions Trading Insufficient
Greener technology is of course welcome and there are people within the industry who are making genuine efforts to mitigate aviation's climate impact so that at least the benefits of some aviation can be preserved. But, though new technology can, and often does, surprise us, the climate science suggests that, in itself, it will not be sufficient to deal with the majority of aviation emissions.

With the EU Emissions Trading Scheme now suspended for flights into and out of Europe for one year, there is no longer much certainty that the ETS can be relied upon, or that ICAO will provide a viable scheme to control international aviation CO2 in any reasonable time-frame.

Global Temperatures Rising Faster than Predicted
Aviation, of course, needs to be looked at in the context of what is happening on the wider climate front. The Copenhagen talks - and subsequent summits - have concentrated on measures that would limit the rise in world temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius, which, until recently, was thought to be achievable (and sufficient to prevent runaway climate change). However, recent evidence suggests that temperatures are heading for a 4 or 6 degree rise. That would have a potentially catastrophic impact on the climate. To prevent profound disruption to the future global climate would require much tougher measures than world leaders have been looking at.

As far as aviation in the UK is concerned, the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the Government's official advisers, are based on stopping a 2 degree rise in temperatures and allowing the Government to reach its target of cutting overall CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050.

The CCC argues that the number of flights could increase by around 55% and still enable that target to be met. However, this 55% figure is problematic. Not only because the science now indicates the world is heading for a rise in 4 or 6 degrees but also because the 55% figure makes huge assumptions about the cuts that will be made in others sectors of the economy by 2050. The rest of the UK economy has to make huge cuts, in order to permit air travel the special status of being allowed not to cut emissions. It would require the power supply to be fully decarbonised, virtually every home in the country to be so well insulated that it lost almost no heat, carbon capture and storage to be in place and huge reductions in emissions from shipping and waste to take place. (The aviation industry is also critical of the figure, arguing it under-estimates the progress that it will make in tackling CO2 through the introduction of cleaner planes and improved operating practices.)

The Committee on Climate Change will guide Davies Commission
However, despite these considerable flaws in the CCC's figures, they are expected to guide the Davies Commission when it starts its work this year to assess future airport capacity needs. Given that, it is worth looking at what a 55% increase in flights could mean in practice. In bald figures, 55% more landings and take-offs could theoretically fill three or more new runways. But that needs to be heavily caveated.

Firstly, if new runways were to be built, it would require the number of planes at the many existing airports which have significant spare capacity to be capped retrospectively. These airports that currently have this unused capacity could not use this, if new runways are also built and fully used. The airports affected would not be anticipated to accept this restriction on their growth meekly.

Secondly, it does not take account of the type of aircraft using the runways. Long-haul flights clearly produce more emissions than short-haul. Three more runways used for a Heathrow-type proportion of long haul flights would send emissions way past government targets. By contrast, one runway used largely for short haul flights may not.

The CCC target: past its sell-by date
The wider question is whether the CCC target for UK air travel is past its sell-by date. I suspect it is. Its assumptions about the cuts in carbon that other industries are likely to make look naively optimistic; its assumptions about the rate at which the world is warming up now look unrealistic and complacent. Unless the UK succeeds in cutting its overall carbon emissions by 80% or more before 2050, the less stringent target for air travel is hard to justify.

The climate science suggests that government aviation policy should be aiming at stabilising, if not cutting, the amount of flying we do, rather than providing for anticipated growth. This can be done through the introduction of measures which dampen down demand: an end to tax-free fuel for aviation; a higher and more realistic rate of Air Passenger Duty to compensate for the zero-rate status the industry enjoys on VAT; tax-breaks for video-technology; investment in affordable rail. Some of this would need to be done at an international level. Fiscal measures can change behaviour.

Behavioral Change Required Now!
And this behavioral change needs to start now. Professor Kevin Anderson puts it well in this lecture. He shows that, while distant targets may be all well and good, the critical factor in determining the rise in global temperatures is the amount of CO2 we will emit over the next decades. Postponing action till dates conveniently far into the future is no longer an effective option. He argues that, to control future climate disruption, the lifestyles of people in the rich world need to become much less carbon intensive, starting today.

Our consumption of air travel is merely one of the many high impact life-style choices we make, but it has recently become an increasingly significant and high carbon one. The onus is on us to change so as to allow some growth in the poorer countries. If the planet had a vote, it would be saying a firm 'no' to gleaming new airports anywhere in Europe.

2013 - More Flights of Fancy for Stansted?


Plan could be 'compromise' to Heathrow expansion and £50bn Boris Island
£3m feasibility study into four runway Stansted to be launched
Boris' transport adviser says it could solve aviation problems for 500 years
But Stansted has been at the centre of years of anti-expansion protests

Martin Robinson - Daily Mail - 17 December 2012

Stansted could be transformed into a four-runway international super-airport in a plan that would solve Britain's aviation problems for up to 500 years, it has emerged today. Boris Johnson is to suggest expanding the Essex airport into one of the world's biggest as he fights tooth and nail to block a third runway at Heathrow.

Mr Johnson's first choice has always been to build his £50billion 'Boris Island' airport in the Thames estuary but Stansted now appears to be considered a credible alternative. It is understood he will now order a £3million detailed feasibility study to consider if 'compromise option' Stansted could cope if transformed.

A super high speed rail link - cutting the journey time to London to 25 minutes - would also be built to support its growth. In theory it would then go from Britain's third airport to its largest, dwarfing Heathrow and its 70 million passengers per year.

This idea will be handed as an option to Sir Howard Davies' official inquiry into the future of aviation in Britain. If suitable, Stansted's growth could be put at the heart of the Conservative's 2015 general election manifesto as a fall-back from Boris Island and building a third runway at Heathrow.

But it will still be highly controversial as proposals for a second runway there have already led to years of protests from people living under its flighpath. Stansted has been targeted by many protests including one where more than 50 people burst onto its runway and shut it down for more than five hours. Celebrities including Jamie Oliver have also joined other protests. Despite this longstanding problem it appears City Hall could be willing to risk adding runways there to solve aviation capacity problems in the south-east.

"Our initial analysis would lead us to look in greater detail at three possible locations: inner estuary; outer estuary; and Stansted," the Mayor's key transport adviser Daniel Moylan told the Times, and he will also lead the feasibility study. "The mayor has a strong bias towards regeneration and so he is very much inclined to the view that it should be to the east of London, because that will be transformational for East London. A new airport to the east would still be making its effects felt in 400 or 500 years. For these purposes we would consider Stansted to be in the east."

The mayor's number one plan airport has been nicknamed Boris Island in his honour as he has championed the idea to build it on an artificial island made of landfill. It could become Britain's main international hub, handling 300,000 passengers a day. If it happens the scheme is expected to be designed by eminent architect Lord Foster on a sparse strip of land on the Isle of Grain in Kent, which juts out into the Thames estuary on an artificial island.

The airport would have a minimum of four runways, with space to build two more. Ferries, a road and a railway bridge would link the site to Kent and Essex. Planes would descend over the North Sea rather than densely populated parts of London, as many do when coming in to Heathrow. There would also be high speed rail links to Europe and the rest of Britain.


Tony Quested - (Essex) Business Weekly - 20 December 2012

Located midway between the technology and financial capitals of Europe - Cambridge and London - Stansted Airport will pass into new, almost certainly foreign, ownership early in 2013 and hand the incoming patrons an incredible opportunity.

The UK airport was bullied into a fire sale by the Competition Commission, which buckled to a self-interested lobby arguing that BAA had an unhealthy London monopoly in its ownership portfolio.

That was after the Coalition government scrapped plans to add a second runway to the Essex hub for fear of offending the environmental lobby that appears to dictate economic policy in Britain by dint of perceived power at the ballot box.

By sheer serendipity, the Commission and the present government may have done Stansted and its prospective new owners a huge favour: Four groups are in talks to take over Stansted for anything between £850 million and the cost of the regulated asset base of £1.3 billion.

This week London's Mayor Boris Johnson, included Stansted in a £3m feasibility study that looked at extending the airport into a four-runway hub. The London Evening Standard suggested that Chancellor George Osborne backs the expansion strategy.

The Standard reported: "It would be a fraction of the cost of a new airport - a minimum of £60 billion - in either the inner or outer Thames estuary and rail links are already in place. Mr Johnson is vociferously opposed to building a third runway at Heathrow, so is understood to welcome the idea of Stansted as a compromise candidate."

Under Boris's plans, Heathrow would downsize to a small international airport - it currently serves 70 million passengers a year - as the new hub takes over. So what price Stansted in this scenario? Despite the challenging macro-economic backdrop, anything less than £1bn would be a bargain.

Stansted is sitting on a goldmine - precious spare capacity, ready-to-roll infrastructure, rising cargo volumes and the option of growth without causing the kind of environmental chaos that similar expansion would cause at Gatwick or Heathrow. Manchester Airport, which has an edge in terms of understanding UK airport infrastructure, is the only domestic bidder. Australian and New Zealand led consortia are in the bidding along with Asian interests. I understand that, while some media have been touting a Texan group, the fourth bidder entering the next round of the process is, in fact, a Malaysian interest.

Quantas recently used Stansted for London Olympic flights and were blown away by the infrastructure and efficiency - as was President Obama before them. Ryanair, despite its intravenous rants at Stansted management, has increased flights from the Essex hub and winter passenger figures have been unusually buoyant.

I believe the political wind is about to change and that Stansted will be chosen ahead of Heathrow and Gatwick for further runway capacity. I also believe the new owners will bring in US and Asian passenger services as a matter of priority, diversifying from the current European-centric schedule.

But whichever consortium takes over, marketing will be the key to success. Stansted has never been marketed with optimum efficiency. With all due respect to our cousins across the Atlantic or in parts of Asia, locational nuances are not a core strength.

They simply don't appreciate - because they are not told frequently or loudly enough - that using Stansted gives them swift and ready access to both London and the Cambridge technology cluster. The name Stansted has to go. London Cambridge Airport will do nicely. The new owners will also have to develop some metaphorical balls and not be cowed by government whimsy or the green lobby.

They will have to attack the respective limitations of Heathrow and Gatwick and leave no global carriers in any doubt that London Cambridge Airport is the most accessible gateway to the City and a technology Shangri-La - and a hub that will give them capacity from which to grow their operations in a cost-effective manner.

We live in hope, not for the sake of Stansted or the new owners but for the economic health of the UK whose aviation strategy is the modern equivalent of the Ottoman Empire as ascribed by Russia in a less commercial era - the sick man of Europe.


Joe Murphy - Standard.co.uk Online - 18 December 2012

Two new runways at Heathrow and another at Gatwick are needed to stop a shortage of aviation capacity from crippling Britain's economy, business leaders said today.

The call came from bosses' group the Institute of Directors in a report that claimed Britain is already losing investment because it does not have enough capacity in the vital South East airways. "Heathrow should expand by one, or preferably two, runways," urged the IoD, whose 25 recommendations to improve capacity will form evidence to the Davies Commission launched into the future of aviation.

The IoD stance will infuriate West London residents and opponents of a third runway, who fear the Davies Commission was set up to provide cover for the Conservatives to do a U-turn on expansion after the next election. But it said a survey of members found 59 per cent believe a lack of spare capacity at Heathrow damages inward investment. Heathrow's good road and rail access made it the best location for expansion, and it would be even more attractive after Crossrail and the new HS2 high speed rail projects.

"Expansion at Heathrow should be contingent on action to address concerns about noise and pollution," it conceded. "Newer, quieter planes, combined with a sharper angle of descent for arriving aircraft, would both help to meet stringent noise restrictions."

The IoD rejected industry calls for mixed-mode operations at Heathrow, here planes take off and land on the same runway, except as an emergency measure to ease delays. "The small increase in capacity is not worth the large increase in noise for residents," it said.

A second runway should be built at Gatwick as soon as the current embargo on expansion at the West Sussex airport expires in 2019. "There is no reason planning permission could not be sought now, so building could begin swiftly after the agreement expires," it urged.

The IoD said the Government should promote airports outside the South East, where there is unused capacity and boost usage of the channel tunnel. It said Air Passenger Duty was "much too high" and could be costing the economy £12 billion a year by deterring passengers, and said visa and immigration systems should be improved.

IoD senior economic adviser Corin Taylor, who wrote the report, said: "British aviation faces several key crunches which require swift, co-ordinated action. Aviation is economically crucial, and the world is only going to become even more interconnected. We cannot afford to ignore the reality that demand for air travel in south east England will soon be more than our airports can handle. This means airport capacity must expand, alongside other measures to improve our competitiveness in terms of taxes and immigration processes."

He went on: "An aviation strategy is not just about laying new tarmac. Runways, transport links, noise and air pollution, tax on flights and the visa system must all be considered together if the UK is to make the most of the huge potential of aviation. The world economy is shifting towards high-growth economies, including the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations. It is absolutely vital that we have an aviation strategy which embraces the enormous opportunities this brings."


BBC News - 24 December 2012

Plans to build a £39bn hub airport on sandbanks off the Kent coast have been branded "ludicrous and ridiculous".

Conservative MP for Dover, Charlie Elphicke, and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) both oppose the plan for a 24-hour four-runway airport. Engineering firm Beckett Rankine wants to build on Goodwin Sands, near Deal.It said the Sands could support an aviation hub and the site did not have the environmental and logistical issues of plans for the Thames Estuary.

Eurostar said it was watching developments with interest and the president of an economic organisation in Calais believes the plan has real potential.

'Serious environmental issues'
Mr Elphicke said: "I don't think it makes a lot of sense at all. I think it's a ludicrous idea and it's not economically viable."

The Goodwin Sands are a series of shifting sandbanks that are also the site of hundreds of historic shipwrecks - a fact Mr Elphicke feels would make construction problematic and expensive. "There are serious environmental issues with the Goodwin Sands, serious issues in terms of graves of ships, war graves, from shipping, military shipping, that has gone down there in past years. [It] is the sort of thing that will be highly disruptive," he said.

Beckett Rankine thinks the site's proximity to London - via the HS1 high-speed rail line, A2, M2 and M20 roads - and Europe would make it attractive to air passengers. Mark Norman, BBC South East's Business Correspondent, said the Goodwin Sands Airport was being called a "hub for northern Europe" and was a serious proposal.

Thaddee Segard, who represents the Opale coastal area in France, said a hub airport in Kent could prove very popular with millions of people on the other side of the Channel. He added: "There's huge potential on the French side. Brussels is a minimum of three hours away and Paris is even further. To get to Deal would take no more than two hours. There are 4.5 million people in Nord and Pas-de-Calais. People in the northern part of Belgium would be interested too. If you have this airport in Kent in Deal it will be very, very convenient for people."

'Future opportunities'
A Eurostar spokesperson said: "We are always interested to hear about developments in the travel and tourism industry, including the news of the proposed Goodwin sands airport. With a number of competing schemes currently on the drawing board, we will watch the debate with interest. High-speed rail is a central part of the transport mix, and we continue to look out for future opportunities."

CPRE spokesman Jamie Weir said Manston Airport in Thanet had plenty of runway capacity and questioned whether the South East actually needed more airports. He added: "The question of whether we actually need fresh capacity is the one which needs to be answered before we start looking for sites. This proposal, like all of those in the Thames Estuary, fails to even recognise this. We believe that the UK Government must prove the need for additional capacity before anything like this is contemplated."

Other proposals for increased airport capacity in the South East have included the expansion of Gatwick and Heathrow and more use of regional airports. There have also been three different plans to build airports in the Thames Estuary - a floating airport designed by architects Gensier, another plan known as Boris Island after it was backed by London mayor Boris Johnson, and proposals for a hub airport on the Isle of Grain designed by architect Norman Foster.

Analysis, Mark Norman, BBC South East Business Correspondent
The fact that it is being called a "hub for northern Europe" gives us a clue as to what the architects are thinking. The discussions about UK airport capacity include arguments about how we need to integrate with and compete against our European neighbours. This new plan might offer a chance to do both. A Goodwin Sands airport also might offer better infrastructure links than one in the Thames.

High speed train services, the A2/M2, a possible new second Thames crossing at Gravesend and ferry traffic to Europe could all offer support. However, the technical challenge and the environmental arguments will be huge and it is one of those projects that the general public struggles to take seriously.

This is a serious proposal from a firm who have a good track record and it will now be considered alongside the other equally grand plans for an international hub airport in the South East.


A group against expanding Stansted Airport says turning it into a
four runway international 'superhub' is not wanted or needed

Heart-Essex News Online - 18 December 2012

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has ordered a feasability study into whether the Essex terminal or a site in the Thames Estuary would be the best place for it. Peter Sanders from Stop Stansted Expansion says there has already been three inquiries into the possibility of developing Stansted: "They've all come down against the idea."

"The last inspector said an additional runway at Stansted would be a major and unacceptable enviromental catastrophe, and he was talking just of one extra runway not an extra three. The business community doesn't want it, there are no good economic arguments for it. The passenger throughput at Stansted has come down from about 24 million passengers a few years ago to 17 now and only about 2.8 million of those are business passengers."

He also argues around 70 or 80 listed buildings may have to be knocked down if the plans were to go as well as many heritage sites.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: "The Mayor has repeatedly made the case that London and the south-east need a proper airport and that this need cannot be met by Heathrow expansion. So we need a new airport somewhere else and our initial studies lead us to believe there are essentially three sustainable long-term solutions that would allow us to build a four runway 24 hour hub airport capable of competing with the rest of the world."

"These are two options in the estuary and Stansted. A location to the east of London would bring transformational benefits to east London over time. The Mayor's team is working on a thorough analysis of all options for construction of a new hub airport to serve London and the south east and will submit their findings to the Davies commission as soon as possible."


Andrew Parker and Rose Jacobs - Financial Times - 30 December 2012

London should develop three dual-runway airports to solve its aviation capacity challenge and limit the dominance of Heathrow, according to Gatwick's chief executive.

Stewart Wingate said passengers' interests would be best served by allowing Gatwick and Stansted to build second runways, so as to compete on a level playing field with Heathrow. He warned there was a risk of recreating an airport monopoly around London if politicians permitted Heathrow to build a third runway, or backed a new hub in the Thames estuary.

His arguments - which draw on lessons from leading cities including New York - could be attractive to the government and the new independent airport commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies.

Regulators forced the break-up of Heathrow Airports Holdings, which once owned all the southeast's big airports, because of concerns that its quasi-monopoly was bad for passengers and airlines. Gatwick was sold in 2009 and Stansted will be disposed of in 2013, meaning the three biggest airports will all have different owners.

Mr Wingate said Sir Howard had a "really challenging role" in developing ways to increase airport capacity. "Do we desire a monopoly type solution which would either be an estuarial airport or a third runway at Heathrow?" said Mr Wingate. "Or do we actually for the first time in a generation really want to put in place a competitive airport sector? Which would lead you, in the first instance, to put a second runway into Gatwick and then thereafter to put a second runway into Stansted, and have a city - London - that is served by three dual-runway, competitive airports.?

Heathrow is operating at capacity and Gatwick expects to be in a similar position by the mid to late 2020s. Gatwick is barred from building another runway until 2019 after an agreement with local councils, but Mr Wingate said it would take until the end of this decade for ministers to make decisions on airport capacity and for planning permission to be obtained.

He also said building additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted could be more cost-effective than concentrating expansion on Heathrow or a new Thames estuary airport. He estimated it would cost between £3bn and £5bn to build a new runway at Gatwick and a similar amount to do the same at Stansted. That compares to estimates of £10bn for a third runway at Heathrow, and £50bn for a Thames estuary airport.

Mr Wingate took issue with arguments by Heathrow that the UK must expand its hub airport capacity so as to support more long-haul flights to emerging markets. Heathrow is the UK's only hub, where about a third of passengers transfer from short to long-haul flights. These arrangements - principally used by British Airways, Heathrow's largest airline - make some of the long-haul flights profitable and so ensure the carrier covers a broad range of overseas destinations.

But Mr Wingate suggested the arguments about the importance of transfer passengers were overblown, highlighting how London has large volumes of so-called origin and destination travellers. He said 93 per cent of passenger journeys involving London's airports either started in their catchment areas or ended there. Only 7 per cent of journeys involved transferring between flights at the airports.

Gatwick and Stansted, because of their locations, were well-placed to serve the origin and destination traffic, he added. Gatwick is mainly focused on serving European low-cost carriers and package holiday operators, although over the past year it has persuaded Asian long-haul airlines including Korean Air to fly to the airport.

Mr Wingate is interested in pursuing a variant of the orthodox hub airport business model at Gatwick. Low-cost, short-haul carriers at the airport - led by EasyJet - could feed passenger traffic on to the airport's long-haul airlines, including Air China. Mr Wingate said such arrangements were taking root at international airports; for example, Emirates Airline's long-haul aircraft takes passengers at its Dubai hub from FlyDubai, the low-cost, short-haul carrier.

Douglas McNeill, analyst at Charles Stanley, said the Conservatives had fewer marginal constituencies around Gatwick and Stansted compared with Heathrow, which might make it more attractive to expand them. "Wherever you try to build another runway you'll run into quite a lot of local opposition, and maybe enough to put parliamentary constituencies into play," he said.

Proposed solutions to the capacity challenge

Heathrow: Bosses at Heathrow, the UK's only hub airport, want the Davies commission to look at the case for adding two new runways. A third runway is estimated to cost £10m and could open within a decade of getting the go-ahead, but any move to expand Heathrow faces strong resistance from London residents.

Gatwick: The owners of Gatwick, the West Sussex airport, are making the case for a second runway costing up to £5m that would open sometime after 2019, when a planning restriction expires. Gatwick expects its single runway to be operating at full capacity by the mid to late 2020s.

Stansted: Make, a firm of architects, is proposing turning Stansted into a four-runway airport. Stansted, located in Essex, is due to fall under new ownership in 2013 because Heathrow has been forced to sell it by regulators. Bidders include the owners of Manchester airport.

Thames estuary: Lord Foster, the architect, has designed a new four-runway hub airport on the Isle of Grain in the Thames estuary that would likely also involve the closure of Heathrow. Foster and Partners estimate the estuary airport would cost £50bn, if rail and other infrastructure is included. It could open in 2028.

Kent coast: Beckett Rankine, the engineers, is proposing a three-runway airport at Goodwin Sands, three kilometres off the east coast of Kent. The airport and other infrastructure would cost at least £39bn. Beckett claimed its proposal, unlike a Thames estuary airport, would not interfere with bird life.


Christmas columnists - Chloe Rogers & Nick Barton - Saffron Walden Reporter - 27 December 2012

Celebrating 2012 - Message from BAA

NO one will argue that 2012 hasn't been an exciting but challenging year; continuing financial difficulties, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Stansted ownership uncertainties, aviation policy consultations and an independent airports commission. Yet in the midst of all this we can all take pride in a year of achievement at Stansted.

We won the SKYTRAX Best Airport for Low Cost Airlines Award for the second consecutive year, something we are extremely proud of as it's an award voted for by over 12 million passengers from all over the world. Aircraft punctuality and on-time performance continue to surpass other major UK airports as we help passengers travel with the minimum of fuss.

We now fly to over 150 destinations and to more European destinations than any other UK airport and we aim to increase our network as Ryanair, easyJet and our other airline partners continue to announce new routes; Dubai, Lublin, Nuremberg and Marrakesh being some of the most recent.

Stansted now has the highest proportion of passengers using public transport in the UK. Over 50 per cent of our passengers travel to and from the airport by train, coach or bus, an incredible feat with much credit going to our Transport Forum for bringing all stakeholders together to achieve this great success.

The airport has also continued its community support programme, donating over £260,000 this year to help support local charities, organisations and voluntary groups. And how could I forget the superb London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The critics doubted the UK could pull it off but we did, and Stansted played its part!

The whole airport community came together to offer a fantastic welcome to London and the UK. It was an unqualified success and I would like to say a special thank you to all those at the airport staff, Games Makers and Ambassadors for playing their part, in making the Games such a fantastic success for us at Stansted.

Looking forward
LOOKING forward to 2013 and the eventual sale of the airport, it's important that we continue to uphold our high standards and protect and maintain business as usual for our passengers. We have a positive and significant impact on jobs and the regional economy; and this will remain the case under new ownership. With plenty of room to grow, we have a key role to play in the future aviation needs of the UK. I believe the future prospects for Stansted are very bright indeed.

Nick Barton
Managing Director
Stansted Airport

OUR COMMENT: Forget the extra noise, traffic and pollution that further expansion will create! The UK needs more flights! BUT, we ask, is this expansion really necessary?

Pat Dale


Campaigners want to put a stop to jumbo jets
disrupting residents' night-time sleep

Braintree and Witham Times - 18 December 2012

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) is calling for a total ban on night flights at the Essex airport.

Stansted Airport is currently allowed to handle as many as 12,000 night flights, between 11.30pm and 6am, a year.

Eastbound departures from Stansted typically follow a flight path to the south of Braintree. Flight patterns from 2011 show planes tend to pass over Stebbing, the Notleys and Rivenhall at heights of less than 6,000 feet.

The 12,000 annual night flights permitted at Stansted compares unfavourably to Heathrow, which is allowed only 5,800 flights despite the airport being four times bigger.


Blog by John Stewart (Hacan) - 17 December 2012

It's probably the most common question we get. "Why don't you move, if the noise is bothering you so much?" It is sometimes said aggressively; at other times just quizzically. It can be followed by the comment: "After all, you knew the airport was there before you moved in."

When I respond to these questions by email, I usually start by admitting that some people could move but choose to stay before adding that many, many others have moved because of the noise. I regularly get emails: I've given up the battle; I'm escaping to Brighton; I can take it no more, we're off.

People often ask me where in London is free of the planes. It can be tricky giving advice when they don't tell you their price range! I tried to send a woman to Uxbridge who really fancied Chiswick. And nearly bankrupted another by suggesting Marylebone. She settled for Barking.

The oddest request was from a couple who had become so disturbed by the noise that they wanted reassurance that Banchory, near Balmoral in rural Aberdeenshire, was not under any flight paths. And the saddest was the mother who had struggled for years with the noise in order to keep her children at schools they enjoyed only to move back to her home town of Southend, just a year before that airport put in an application for significant expansion.

That last example illustrates the second point I make in my email responses to those who suggest we all could move. For most people it is just not that simple. Many have no choice for reason of income, employment, disability, age or other personal circumstances. There are so many cases like the woman from Southend where one member of the family is driven to distraction by the noise but tries to put up with it so as not disrupt the lives of the rest of the family. Far from being simple, the option of moving may well be the hardest decision a family ever has to take.

There is also some truth in the other point made: that people knew what they were in for when they moved in. Most people who have moved into a property under a Heathrow flight path in recent years will know the score though many still say they had no conception of the way the aircraft would invade their lives until they actually had to live with it.

Although on the surface it appears pretty straightforward - you can hardly miss an airport or a flight path - dig just under that surface and a more complex picture emerges. Some people, particularly those in rented accommodation, have little real choice about the area they move into, especially if they need to be within an affordable travelling distance of work. We have a member who had been out of work for some years. His only option when a job came up in Hounslow was to move his family to the area.

Then there are many people who admit that they knew full well they were moving under a flight path when they bought their property 30 or 40 years ago but, in all good faith, believed the promises made by government and the airport operator that terminal 4 and then terminal 5 would be the last major developments at the airport. They did not move to an area that had a plane coming over every 90 seconds.

And finally, possibly more than a quarter of a million people unexpectedly found themselves under the Heathrow flight paths when in 1996 the suggested point for planes joining their final approach to the airport was extended by up to 3 miles. There was no consultation and no compensation. Indeed, for years many in the industry and government never admitted that any change had taken place.

There was no way that these people, living 20 miles and more from the airport, could ever have expected to be living with a constant stream of sound. Many fled but that was not an option for the majority of people in the densely-populated, low-income estates of Stockwell, Brixton and Peckham. As one elderly West Indian woman said to me, "Darling, at my age, it's either here or Jamaica. And here is now home. It's where all my family is."


Aimee Turner - Air traffic Management Online - 12 December 2012

The United Kingdom is considering making satellite-based aircraft navigation mandatory in certain areas of controlled airspace as part of new proposals to overhaul the nation?s invisible infrastructure.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has drafted a Future Airspace Strategy (FAS) that it reckons will increase airspace capacity, improve flight efficiency, and reduce aviation's environmental impact.

Speaking today at a London conference organised by the CAA, its chief executive Andrew Haines said: "Every day we hear discussions about a shortage in capacity for aviation in the UK, especially in the south east of England. That focuses almost entirely on runways, but there is much that can be improved just by enhancing airspace utilisation, and if we don't get airspace right, we won't be able to make best use of any new airport capacity. What is more, airspace has a significant impact on the overall efficiency of aviation and also its impact on the environment. For airlines, the airspace system can be a key determinant of fuel burn, punctuality and runway utilisation."

Key improvements that the CAA reckons the FAS could deliver include:
Allowing aircraft continuous climb-outs on takeoff that get aircraft to their optimum cruising altitude as quickly as possible;
Providing aircraft with more efficient routings that save time and fuel;
Better management of arrivals at airports, such as reducing the time aircraft hold before landing;
Linking the whole aviation network together to share up-to-date flight information, thereby enabling better operational decisions and increasing resilience to unexpected events;
Using the latest technology throughout the system to increase airspace capacity and safety.

This includes the use of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) that allows aircraft to use satellite navigation, instead of ground based navigation aids, to fly much more accurate routes. The CAA announced at the conference that it will be consulting on a mandate to implement PBN in certain areas of the UK?s controlled airspace, building on an existing policy ambition to adopt PBN in the terminal and around airports. Basic PBN capability is already mandated in en-route airspace.

In its latest latest guidance on deployment of the strategy the CAA said it will lead a centralised programme to coordinate the implementation of PBN. "The programme will concentrate on the use of mandates to drive adoption of PBN in specific areas of the network and on specified routes," it states. "Impact assessments will be undertaken by the regulator in conjunction with industry to guide the transition to full PBN adoption in these areas."

The CAA will also seek to expedite implementation of simpler PBN replications at low altitudes around airports and promote the use of more advanced capabilities (RNP) where there is a sufficiently high level of equipage and the potential to realise significant benefits.

"Conventional alternatives will probably be required during the transition. The programme will ensure alternatives are clearly defined and acceptable for both the terminal and en-route environments. The way in which alternatives are used to stage the withdrawal of conventional procedures and incentivise adoption, for example through concepts such as best equipped best served, will also be coordinated as part of the CAA-led programme."

The CAA said that its strategy had been developed in a collaborative way with all major stakeholder groups involved - including airlines, airports, air traffic controllers, general and business aviation, the UK and Ireland aviation authorities, DfT and the MoD.

These organisations will now start work on implementing the strategy in the UK and tieing it into European projects such as the European Commission's Single European Sky initiative, which aims to streamline the way airspace is used throughout the continent. Work on some of the FAS projects is already underway with the objective that UK airspace is made fit for purpose out to 2030.

Among the key aviation figures providing their views were easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall; Heathrow Airport chief executive Colin Matthews; and NATS managing director of operations Martin Rolfe. They heard that the UK's current airspace system has not been significantly updated for over 40 years and that the FAS project will deliver significant benefits for air passengers, the aviation industry and the environment.


Kate Holton - Reuters - 20 December 2012

Britain's aviation regulator said on Thursday it was minded to rule that Stansted should not be fully de-regulated because the airport has a level of market power among low cost and charter carriers that may be substantial.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that market power was likely to become substantial between 2014 and 2019 as airport capacity constraints continue to tighten in the London region.

"Our core focus is protecting consumers and improving their experience," Iain Osborne, CAA Director of Regulatory Policy, said. "The evidence tends to suggest we cannot be confident competition alone will deliver this. However, this does not mean we would necessarily continue with traditional price controls - we would consult on that next year."

The CAA has provisionally concluded that it would be better to remedy possible abuse of Stansted's market power both with economic regulation and general competition law. The CAA said its assessment had come about because of new powers which enable it to be far more flexible. Instead of imposing price controls it can now grant airports economic licences with varying conditions to ensure consumers are protected.


4traders Online - 21 December 2012

Ferrovial completed the sale of 10.62% of Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd. (formerly BAA Ltd.) to Qatar Holding LLC for 478 million pounds after obtaining approval from the European Union's competition authorities. As an industrial partner and the principal investor, Ferrovial remains committed to HAH.

Ferrovial, which holds an indirect stake of 44.27% in Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd. (formerly BAA Ltd.), has sold Qatar Holding LLC a 10.62% stake in FGP Topco Ltd., parent company of Heathrow Airport Holdings, for 478 million pounds. The deal, announced in August, was pending authorization by the competition authorities. The European Commission recently approved the transaction after ascertaining that it complied with EU legislation on mergers and acquisitions.

Íñigo Meirás, CEO of Ferrovial: "This transaction fulfills two objectives for us: it allows us to maintain our position as the principal shareholder and industrial partner of Heathrow Airport Holdings, and it further strengthens our liquidity situation, providing us with notable flexibility to undertake investments in infrastructure and services projects."

As part of this same transaction, Qatar Holding also acquired stakes of 5.63% of FGP Topco from Britannia Airport Partners and 3.75% from GIC, both in proportion to their holdings in that company; as a result, Qatar now owns 20% of Heathrow Airport Holdings. Those stakes were sold at the same price per share. The deal amounted to 900 million pounds in total.

As a result of this transaction and the sale of a stake to Stable Investment Corporation, a subsidiary of CIC International Co., Ltd. on October 2012, Ferrovial's indirect stake in Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd. has declined to 33.65%. The other shareholder stakes are as follows: Qatar Holding 20%, Britannia Airport Partners 13.29%, GIC 11.88%, Alinda 11.18%, and Stable Investment Corporation 10%. Qatar Holding LLC will join the boards of FGP Topco Ltd. and Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd.

OUR COMMENT: How many British owned airports still exist?

Pat Dale


Report by Aviation Environment Federation - 19 December 2012

Blaming "uncertainty over the international framework for reducing aviation emissions and particularly the treatment of aviation within the EU Emissions Trading System" the Government announced today that it will defer a decision on how to account for aviation emissions in UK climate policy.

Under the Climate Act 2008, the Government was required to take a decision by the end of this year about whether emissions from international aviation and shipping should be included in the UK's five-yearly carbon budgets. The Committee on Climate Change, set up to ensure that the UK is on track to deliver an 80% emissions reduction by 2050, has so far been bound by the Act to 'take account of' these emissions but not to formally include them in carbon accounts. The Committee itself advised Government earlier this year that there is now no good reason for leaving international aviation and shipping out of the budgets.

Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director at AEF, said: "The Climate Change Act 2008 is a world-leading piece of legislation, designed to ensure that we play our part in limiting dangerous global warming. But to be effective it must apply to all sectors of the economy. With the Committee on Climate Change having advised that inclusion of aviation and shipping need not result in any costs beyond those already accepted, we are disappointed that the Government has further postponed a decision on whether to accept the advice of its own climate experts."


Pilots have been falling asleep in the cockpit
because of shift patterns which can see them at the controls
of an aircraft 23 hours after waking up, a study has found

David Millward, Transport Editor - Daily Telegraph - 27 December 2012

The findings of a study by Simon Bennett of Leicester University, has rekindled fears that passenger safety could be put at risk by pilot fatigue. While the Federal Aviation Administration in the USA has tightened rules governing flying hours following a crash in Buffalo, New York in which 50 people died, the European Aviation Safety Agency is looking to relax British regulations to bring them into line with other parts of the EU.

Two pilots speaking to the Daily Telegraph on condition of anonymity, admitted they had nodded off in the cockpit. "It is particularly bad on night flights when you have to be awake at a time when your body wants to be asleep," he said. "I have woken up from a rest period to find my colleague asleep when he was supposed to be flying the aircraft."

Another pilot who has flown both intercontinental and short haul European flights, recalled falling into what he described as a "microsleep". He added: "Everything was closing in, then you would awake with a jolt. You try to keep awake by drinking stronger and stronger coffee." Their experience is commonplace according to Dr Bennett. "It is not unknown for pilots to unintentionally fall asleep while operating," he said.

According to the British Airline Pilots Association, the European proposals would increase the number of hours flying crew could spend at work from 16 hours 15 minutes a day to 20 hours. The pilots' union says the changes would water down Britain's safeguards, which are among the strictest in Europe. At the heart of the debate is whether the time pilots spend getting to work should be taken into account.

Dr Bennett, who has been involved in aviation safety for more than a decade, believes it should. He surveyed 433 pilots, with the help of the union, carrying out interviews and asking volunteers to compile sleep logs.

He asked pilots to include time they spent getting to the airport ahead of reporting for duty - something which is not taken into account in existing or the proposed flying hours regulations. More than half the pilots travelled at least an hour to get to the airport before starting their shift.

More than 50 per cent of pilots have been in control of an aircraft after being awake for 23 hours according to an academic study. A fifth said they were flying 28 hours after getting up. Nearly eight per cent of the pilots who participated in the study admitted they had been involved in a road accident driving home at the end of their shift, Dr Bennett said.

On pilot who took part in the study said he had "nodded off" over the Isle of Wight on his approach to Gatwick. "The reality is that pilots commute huge distances to get to work and the same to get home. But if I raise this in Westminster or in Europe, the response is that the airlines are abiding by the rules."

Pilots reported feeling groggy, dizzy, light-headed and confused because of the long days they endured. One described feeling "Punch-drunk. Utterly exhausted. Incapacitated." The pilot added: "I checked straight into a hotel and didn't even drive home. The trouble with long-haul flying is you simply cannot predict how tired you will be at the end of a flight."

Louise Ellman, the chairman of the all-party Transport Select Committee at Westminster, was alarmed by the findings. "This increases concern that pilots are being asked to fly too long and gives added urgency for the need to review these proposals," he said. "The Government should be more active in arguing for a better deal."

Simon Buck, chief executive of the British Air Transport Association, which represents the industry, declined to get involved in the debate. "Flying time is a matter for the UK Authorities and it is up to them to specify the measures which are appropriate."


Ryanair comes bottom of our airline survey

Which? - 20 December 2012

Swiss International Airlines is top of the table for short-haul airlines in the new survey for Which? Travel, with a customer score of 82%. Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa and Aer Lingus are close behind.

But bottom of the pile is Ryanair, which achieved a score of only 34%. It scored particularly poorly for its baggage allowance, boarding arrangements, seating allocation, food and drinks, with only a one-star satisfaction rating in each of these categories.

Which? members can see the full table of results for all 16 short haul carriers, and all 23 long haul carriers featuring in the airlines survey, including British Airways, EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic.

The best short haul airlines
The only direct flights from the UK with Swiss are to Switzerland from Birmingham, Heathrow, London City and Manchester. It is the only airline to receive five stars for its staff, who received praise for their politeness and great service. Turkish Airlines, which achieved a customer score of 78%, flies from several UK airports to Istanbul. Lufthansa and Aer Lingus received customer scores of 75% and 74% respectively.

The worst short haul airlines
Ryanair is bottom of the airlines survey for the first time, with its lowest customer score to date. Many respondents commented about its extra charges, with more than a quarter of people who bought a flight on the Ryanair website saying they were automatically opted in to extra paid-for products they didn't want - far more than for those booking with other airlines. Thomas Cook Airlines narrowly missed out on being the lowest-scoring airline for the second survey in a row, with a paltry customer score of 36%, and a rating of just one out of five stars for the cabin environment.

A Which? spokesperson said: "The airlines topping our survey received flying colours for their good customer service and value for money. No-frills airlines will have to do more to cut down on the extra charges for baggage allowance, seat allocation and food and drink if they're to see their ratings really take off."

Long haul airlines reviewed
Air New Zealand achieved the top score (86%) in the table for long haul airlines, with a maximum five stars in several categories including for airline staff. Singapore Airlines also did well, scoring 83%, while Middle Eastern carriers Etihad Airways and Emirates had customer scores of 84% and 81% respectively.

Ratings for airlines To produce customer scores for each airline, we asked Which? members how satisfied they were overall with the experience and how likely they were to recommend it to a friend. Each airline was also rated on elements such as value for money, punctuality, the cabin environment and the airline staff.


Travel Weekly - 29 December 2012

Thomas Cook has blasted consumer magazine Which? after the operator's airline came second last in a satisfaction poll.

Thomas Cook Airlines got a 36% satisfaction rating in the short-haul airlines survey, with only Ryanair lower with an overall satisfaction score of 34%. But Cook said the survey was flawed and did not reflect the findings of its own customer satisfaction surveys.

Frank Pullman, managing director of Thomas Cook Airlines UK said: "With alarming regularity and without taking onboard comments we've made in previous years, the Which? short-haul airline satisfaction survey results are, once again, in stark contrast to the high levels of satisfaction our customers tell us about.

"From our own survey - which is 75 times larger than the Which? report - our customer satisfaction scores 90% for those rating their short-haul flight as either excellent or good for their holiday last summer. In the Which? report, only 283 customers commented on Thomas Cook, but even more alarming is that the airline placed first received responses from only 59 people."

Pullman added: "It's impossible to see how this survey offers consumers a like-for-like comparison when Which? is comparing airlines with completely different product offerings that appeal to completely different customers. If Mrs Smith wants to fly with her family to Spain, a smaller scheduled airline with restricted flying programme is not going to be able to help her."

"Unlike scheduled airlines, for most of our customers, our flights form part of their package holiday with us. An important factor is about getting them to their holiday destination on time - we frequently score highly, even in the Which? survey, and we came second in the CAA's on time performance table last year, and expect to perform similarly well when the new report is out."

Cook said its own survey results were based on responses from 421,623 customers.


The Antipodean investor group bidding for Stansted airport has raised its financial firepower by teaming up with a £15bn Australian pension fund

Alistair Osborne, Business Editor - Daily Telegraph - 3 December 2012

Australia's Retail Employees Superannuation Trust (REST) is joining the bid group led by Australasian investment manager Morrison & Co that also features Wellington-based infrastructure investor Infratil and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. The consortium has emerged as the key rival to Manchester Airports Group (MAG) after the first round of the £1bn bid battle for the Essex airport. Two financial bidders, Macquarie and TPG, also submitted first round bids, though neither are yet thought to have the necessary financing in place.

Since then, Stansted's owner Heathrow - the company formerly known as BAA - has sought to liven up the auction by attracting some interest from Malaysia Airports Holdings, the owner of 39 airports in its home market including Kuala Lumpur International.

REST, which has 1.9m members and is one of Australia's biggest retirement funds, has already made one unsuccessful attempt to buy a UK airport. Earlier this year it bid alongside JP Morgan for Edinburgh, the airport BAA sold for £807m to Global Infrastructure Partners, the owner of Gatwick and London City airports.

Morrison & Co was keen to add another investor to its consortium because financing Stansted is expected to require a hefty equity cheque. Sources close to the auction believe bidders may have to put in about £400m of equity, with the rest funded by debt. The relative youth of many of REST's members allows it can invest for the long-term, with less pressure to make a quick turn on any assets it owns. REST, which has £15bn under management, already has some involvement in the UK market via a small holding in Southern Water.

The Australian pension fund also knows Ferrovial, the Spanish construction group that led 2006's £10.3bn purchase of what was then known as BAA. Last month REST teamed up with Ferrovial subsidiary Cintra to invest in and operate toll-road projects in Australia. MAG is also being backed by an Australian investor, Industry Funds Management, which has £21bn under management. The Stansted auction is being handled by Deutsche Bank and ING.


Duncan Brodie - EDP24 Online - 11 December 2012

STANSTED airport today reported its first annual month-on-month increase in passenger numbers of 2012. The airport handled nearly 1.192million passengers in November, an increase 6.2% on the same month last year.

And cargo tonnage at Stansted remained solidly in growth, with November's total up by 16.5% compared with a year earlier.

Last month's increase in passenger numbers means that Stansted's total for the year to date is now 3.8% down compared with the same stage of 2011, at 16.23 million. The shortfall to the end of October was 4.5%.

Similarly, Stansted's rolling 12-month passenger total of 17.409million is now 3.7% down on the previous 12-months, compared with a 4.6% fall for the 12 months to October.

A spokesman at Stansted said today: "November is the first month of the winter flight schedule but we've seen more aircraft operating than this time last year and higher average load factors (on each plane) than a year ago. We've also seen some popular new routes commence, so this has all helped push passenger numbers up 6.2% compared to the same month last year."

"Stansted's worldwide cargo operation continues to perform very well, up 5.2% in the last 12 months, despite the difficult economic conditions. During the month, nearly 20,000 tonnes of goods and products passed through the cargo facilities, up 16.5% on the corresponding month last year," he added.

The Future of Aviation - Conflicting Views


Sir John Armitt, former head of Olympic Delivery Authority,
considers creating quango to oversee multi-billion pound projects

Dan Milmo, Industrial Editor - The Guardian - 10 December 2012

British politicians must emulate the Olympics and protect multibillion-pound infrastructure projects from political meddling to prevent a repeat of the muddle that has marred energy policy and airport planning, according to the former chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

Sir John Armitt is leading an infrastructure review commissioned by the Labour party that will consider the case for a quango to oversee long-term planning for projects ranging from nuclear power stations to new runways.

Successive governments have been criticised by business leaders for failing to drive through new energy and airport capacity, including coalition wrangling over an energy bill and David Cameron's decision to park aviation policy under an independent review until after the next election. Armitt, a former chief executive of Network Rail, said cross-party backing and a lack of political interference had contributed to the smooth buildup to the 2012 Games. "We got it right," he said.

Lord Adonis, the Labour peer who will sit on Armitt's advisory panel, said: "Where there is a clear national imperative, and the politicians work together, then those people who delivered [the Games], led by John, did not have to constantly worry that politicians would pull the plug."

Without evidence of long-term planning and certainty, Armitt said, politicians will struggle to unlock the private sector investment they are so keen to funnel into infrastructure. So far, UK pension funds have committed £700m to pay for infrastructure projects, against a target of up to £2bn set by the Pension Protection Fund and the National Association of Pension Funds, which between them control more than £800bn in assets.

"When you talk to financial institutions and you talk to the private sector, one of the biggest reasons they all give for having difficulty in making an [infrastructure] investment is that they don't know how certain this programme or project will be," said Armitt. He added that energy policy was a prime example of political indecision, saying "you don't need to be a genius" to see that the UK needs an array of energy sources.

His advisory panel includes Sir David Rowlands, chairman of Gatwick airport and former permanent secretary to the Department for Transport, and Rachel Lomax, former deputy governor of the Bank of England. The panel will deliver an interim report in spring, and final conclusions in the autumn. Referring to the coalition's appointment of Sir Howard Davies, former director of the London School of Economics, to lead an inquiry into airport capacity, Adonis said Armitt's panel should win broad political support. "The coalition clearly recognises that they have a problem in this area [of infrastructure planning] or they would not have set up the Davies review."

Armitt acknowledged that the commission had few global precedents to follow. One potential inspiration is offered by Sir Rod Eddington, the former chief executive of British Airways and current chairman of Infrastructure Australia, a government body charged with "developing long-term solutions for infrastructure bottlenecks and decades of underinvestment". However, Armitt cautioned that the body was still expected to take instructions from the Australian government, which could increase exposure to short-term political pressure.

Adonis and Armitt also considered the examples of Network Rail, which is owned by the state but operates at arm's length under independently vetted five-year plans; the Bank of England's monetary policy committee, which sets interest rates; and the Office for Budget Responsibility, the government-backed independent economic forecaster.

Armitt added that any new institution recommended by the panel would be publicly funded and would report to parliament. "We almost take pride in this country in saying that we get there after muddling along. We cannot afford to muddle along," he said.

Adonis stressed that the panel's findings, and its recommendations for a new independent institution, would not challenge the role of ministers as final arbiters in infrastructure decisions. "Nobody is proposing that the decision will be taken out of the democratic process. But we are seeking to remove short-term party politics from the process," he said.

Stansted owner BAA announced in August that it was abandoning its long-running legal battle against a Competition Commission ruling that it must sell the Essex airport. The following month, the company - which is owned by a consortium led by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial - announced that it was dropping the BAA name, which each of its airports (which also include Heathrow, Southampton, Glasgow and Aberdeen) operating in future as stand-alone brands.

Today's figures show that Heathrow enjoyed a record-breaking month in November, with the UK's largest airport handling 5.381million passengers, 3.1% up on November 2011 and its best November ever. Southampton, Glasgow and Aberdeen achieved growth of 3.7%, 5.3% and 4.8% respectively.

Colin Matthews, formerly head of BAA and now chief executive for Heathrow, said there was demand for airtravel which the UK was failing to meet because Heathrow, its only "hub airport" was full. "Last month we launched our first response to the Government's (Davies) Airports Commission, which is looking into this lack of capacity," he added. "It concluded there are just three options for government - do nothing, expand Heathrow, or close Heathrow and open a new hub airport elsewhere."


Willie Walsh has predicted a third runway will not be built at Heathrow

David Millward, Transport Editor - Daily Teleghraph - 3 December 2012

The head of the International Airlines Group, British Airways' parent company, has become the most senior figure to voice doubts about whether Heathrow will ever be expanded. Mr Walsh, British Airways' former chief executive, has been fiercely critical of the Government's aviation strategy in recent months. His remarks at a conference at BA's headquarters in west London last week will hearten those who oppose Heathrow's expansion.

Is a third runway needed at Heathrow?
Yes, it is essential for Britain's economy (586 votes)
No, Britain can survive without a third runway (343 votes)

He told the conference "my personal belief that a third runway will never be built" and that "we are planning for life without it." One option for BA and IAG is to buy other airline's slots at Heathrow, a strategy which underpinned its purchase of Bmi.

The Government has set up a commission under Sir Howard Davies, the former head of the Financial Services Authority, to examine options on how to maintain Britain's status as a major international hub. Critics have warned that failure to provide additional capacity will see Britain falling behind continental rivals such as Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, with jobs and the economy suffering as a result.

All options including Heathrow's expansion and the building of a new airport in the Thames Estuary are said to be back on the table. The Davies Commission is due to deliver an interim report next year before presenting its final conclusions to the incoming Government after the next election.

A Heathrow spokesman said it wanted all options for expansion to be considered by the Commission. "Each has their strengths and weaknesses," a spokesman said.

However Mr Walsh's remarks were welcomed by John Stewart, chairman of HACAN, a pressure group opposition Heathrow's expansion. "It was quite clear that Willie Walsh has ruled out a third runway at Heathrow. It leaves BAA, now known as Heathrow Airport, looking increasingly isolated in its support for a third runway."


More than half of the UK's airports expect passenger numbers to fall
in 2013-14 if the Government increases Air Passenger Duty (APD)

Travelmole Online - 4 December 2012

A new survey of 26 UK airports, conducted by the Airports Operators Association, has shown widespread concern about the impact of the anticipated increase. On Wednesday the Chancellor is expected to confirm a 2.5% increase in APD in his Autumn Statement which will take effect from April 2013.

It follows a double inflation rise for passengers in April this year. One in four airports say that as a direct consequence of the 2013-14 planned APD rises passenger numbers would fall my more than 5%. A further one in four airlines said passenger numbers would fall by between 2-5%. 73% of airports say they are "very worried" by the Government's plans to increase APD. And 83% of airports say that "current levels of APD are having an impact on whether airlines choose to fly from our airport".

Nick Barton, managing director, London Stansted Airport, said: "The UK is now only one of six European countries still imposing this tax and we charge twice the amount of the next most expensive country, Germany. Instead of increasing APD, Government needs to understand the damage this is doing to UK Plc, freeze the rate immediately and conduct an economic impact assessment."

The survey also found widespread evidence of lost routes and the commercial impact the tax is already having. These include:
* Gatwick Airport says that (in March 2012) Air Asia X ceased their route from Gatwick to Kuala Lumpar specifically because of the rising levels of APD.
* Bristol Airport attributes rising APD to reduced domestic services from the airport, from low cost carriers, easyJet and Ryanair, and says APD was one of the reasons the Continental Airlines service to Newark was stopped in November 2010.
* Glasgow Prestwick Airport says the routes which have been lost or severely affected by rising APD include: London Stansted Belfast, Bournemouth, Dublin, Shannon and two Scandinavian routes (Gothenburg, Oslo and Stockholm).
* Southampton Airport says that domestic routes (on which APD is levied twice - for outbound and inbound journeys) have been adversely impacted by APD - including routes to Leeds-Bradford Airport, Glasgow Airport and Edinburgh Airport. It also says that APD has contributed to a loss of services to Brussels.
* City of Derry Airport says that Ryanair have made it clear they will not add any new UK routes or capacity on existing routes due to APD rises.
* Cambridge Airport says that in attracting airlines to start-up new routes to Europe, the high taxes of operating to the UK are leading carriers to explore European markets for new routes rather than the UK.

There is growing pressure for the Treasury to commission an impact-assessment of APD due to the growing Fair Tax on Flying campaign. 200,000 people wrote to MPs this summer calling for an economic impact-assessment of APD. 90,000 overseas travellers have contacted the Treasury directly, with the same message.

100 MPs - including 97 who signed an Early Day Motion - are backing calls for a review. In a Commons debate on APD on November 1, 35 MPs expressed their concerns about current levels of the tax, and the motion calling for a comprehensive review of APD passed unanimously.


The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) has revised down forecasts
for UK airline passenger numbers over the next five years

e-tid.com - 10 December 2012

The anti-Air Passenger Duty (APD) campaign, A Fair Tax on Flying, claimed the revision was evidence of the impact the tax is having on travel demand. It said figures from this year's Budget in March predicted that total passenger numbers through UK airports between the financial year 2011/12 up to and including 2016/17 would reach 628.4m.

However, last week's Autumn Statement put the figure at 618.3m, with passenger numbers for 2016/17 alone revised down by 3.6m. Meanwhile, the Budget predicted that APD would raise £19.3bn for the Treasury from 2011/12 to 2016/17 inclusive. But the Autumn Statement predicted a revenue intake of just £18.4bn for the same period.

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Airport Operators Association (AOA), said: "These recent forecasts are evidence of the growing damage Air Passenger Duty is having on passenger demand. While the OBR may point to the impacts of lower inflation and weaker GDP forecasts, it's evident that lower actual and predicted passenger numbers, as a result of having the highest air passenger tax in the world, is the fundamental driver behind these decreased revenue predictions."

Luke Pollard, ABTA head of public affairs, added: "If the Treasury is serious about creating growth in the economy it has got to review this damaging tax that is putting the brakes on the UK economy and the Treasury's own tax projections."

Simon Buck, chief executive of the British Air Transport Association (BATA), said: "While recognising the Chancellor's need to address the fiscal deficit, we are particularly concerned at the ever increasing rate of APD in terms of its impact on jobs and on the British airline industry. Our Continental competitors have recognised the damage high taxes on flying can cause to their economies and have reduced or scrapped their taxes accordingly. The OBR should consider whether this over-taxation of the travelling public really represents the optimum return for UK plc or whether a reduction in the tax might actually yield a greater return in terms of increased numbers of tourists and a more attractive climate for inward investment."

Dale Keller, chief executive of the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK (BAR UK), said: "Decreasing passenger numbers and Air Passenger Duty revenue forecasts are a sign that inbound tourists, in particular, aren't happy with paying the highest air passenger tax in the world. As passenger numbers decrease, foreign airlines will start looking towards other European airports to expand their business. The Chancellor said this week that he wants to reaffirm the message that 'Britain is open for business'. The Government needs to recognise the damaging impact APD is having on attracting tourists and investment, instead they are bringing the shutters down on UK competitiveness."

The AOA, ABTA, BATA and BAR UK are all members of A Fair Tax on Flying.


Today's Autumn Statement has brought the anticipated
bad news for travellers, with the Chancellor unveiling
a rise in the controversial Air Passenger Duty (APD)

Travelmail Reporter - Daily Mail - 5 December 2012

The tourism industry has been bracing itself for another hike in a levy that is an ever-growing bone of contention - and George Osborne's announcement this afternoon that the tax will rise again has provoked predictable anger from airlines and tourism bodies.

The Chancellor has confirmed a 2.5 per cent APD increase that will come into play next year - although his decision will mainly affect long-haul flyers and passengers who use private jets. The APD rate for economy class travellers on short-haul flights (of under 2000 miles) will be unchanged at £13 per person.

But from April onwards, the charge will go up by £2 per passenger on all flights that fall into Bands B, C and D of the tax's four categories (flights of over 2000, 4000 and 6000 miles respectively). The tax will also - for the first time - have an impact on private jets, which were previously exempt from APD. As of April, passengers flying on aircraft of 18 seats or fewer will have to pay between £52 and £376 extra, depending on the length of their journey.

The news has provoked fury in the ranks of the travel industry, with the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) describing the move as "self-destructive". "The latest increase takes us dangerously beyond the tipping point where the impact can only be negative to the economy," says Dale Keller, the organisation's chief executive. "The announcement comes as unsurprising from a government that is not listening to the wider industry or international opinion - and is self-destructive to its own objectives of attracting foreign investment and tourism."

Tourism body ABTA has also criticised the increase, with its CEO Mark Tanzer arguing that the government is "strangling" the travel industry. "With growth forecasts slashed yet again by the Chancellor, the Government needs to focus every effort on driving growth," he comments. "Tourism is a sector that the Prime Minister has previously outlined as a key growth opportunity, and yet once again the Government has announced a rise in APD, strangling the industry's potential."

"The tourism sector is ready to employ more people and offer genuine economic growth - but to do this we need the Government to look again at higher and higher levels of Air Passenger Duty and back the whole of our sector - domestic, inbound and outbound."

Air Passenger Duty was originally introduced as a 'green tax'. Money raised was supposed to be channelled towards offsetting the environmental effects of air travel. However, a recent series of increases has provoked considerable anger. In November 2010, APD was raised by as much as 55 per cent in certain bands.

The duty is only levied on flights leaving the UK, but is currently paid by travellers on all scheduled services departing from British airports, including overseas visitors - leading to claims that the tax is harming the UK tourist industry.

Last week, Hugh Roberston, the Minister for Sport and Tourism, caused outrage when he suggested that the travel trade's vocal stance against APD - rather than the tax itself - is a cause of damage to the UK's image overseas. "When the tourism industry criticises APD, it is a message that goes abroad," he said. "We must put our best face in our shop window."


Deborah McGurran, Political Editor - BBC East of England - 5 December 2012

The heads of Luton and Stansted airports have assured MPs that they have no plans to build any more runways. Nevertheless, they maintain that they do want to see their airports grow, so improved rail links are vital.

Glyn Jones and Nick Barton were giving evidence to the Transport Select Committee, which is currently looking into the whole issue of airport capacity and expansion. They said that both airports could play a part in easing congestion in the south east but new runways were not the answer.

"We are blessed with fantastic infrastructure at Stansted," said Mr Barton. "The airport still has 50% of its capacity to be used. It's significant - about 17 million passengers per annum, which could be added to our through-put using the existing permissions and infrastructure."

Glyn Jones pointed out that Luton was already operating at 95% capacity but was actively trying to expand. "We've just submitted a planning application to double the size of the airport," he said. "It would be completely private sector-funded and assuming we're granted consent in the normal timeframe, we would anticipate building it next year. So Luton can make an eight million passenger contribution, which doesn't change the world but it does give time for longer term solutions to be found."

That longer term solution is one, if not two, new runways in the South East.

Also giving evidence were the managing directors of Heathrow and Gatwick, who dominated the session, as they tried to argue the case for expansion at their airports. Heathrow wants a third runway to maintain the airport's hub status, while Gatwick is now actively looking into building another runway at Gatwick.

Stansted and Luton said they want to concentrate on short haul, "point to point" and largely low-cost travel. Both accept they can't be hub airports. But Gatwick's boss, Stewart Wingate (who used to be the MD at Stansted), told the committee he believed it would be good for capacity and competition if another runway was also built at Stansted.

Growth held back
"The vision we're painting is to have a second runway at Gatwick, which we think is a deliverable solution... and then in due course to have a second runway at Stansted," he said.

It also emerged from the airports' bosses evidence was a feeling that Luton and Stansted's growth is being held back by poor rail links. Mr Barton revealed that one in six trains on the Stansted Express was delayed. Luton Airport Managing Director Glyn Jones said the rail timetable was inadequate. "We would like to see reliability initially improved markedly and we want to see the journey time reduced," he said. "It's currently a good service but we want to see it brought closer to London". It currently takes around 50 minutes to travel along the congested line into Liverpool Street. The airport has just launched a Stansted In 30 campaign.

Glyn Jones said Luton wanted to see more passengers using public transport but complained that at the moment the rail companies did not regard airport passengers as important as commuters. "We have three million passengers a year who aren't served by rail because the timetable is inadequate."

Ministers' reluctance
"We have one fast train an hour until 6 o'clock in the morning. The vast majority of our flights leave at 6 o'clock in the morning, so obviously we need to have the passengers there earlier than that."

Both airports are working with the government as it draws up the new rail franchise agreements.

Environmental groups also gave evidence to the committee. They questioned the need for any more expansion, pointing out that demand had fallen dramatically in recent years. Brian Ross, from Stop Stansted Expansion, claimed there was now more runway capacity in the UK than in many European countries.

But the industry wants to grow and it feels it's being held back by ministers' reluctance to make any decisions. The government has launched a study into the issue but nothing concrete will be decided until after the next election. For now Luton and Stansted, with their spare capacity, will be the main places for (limited) airport expansion.


Marion Dakers - CityAM Online - 5 December 2012

THE HEAD of British Airways' parent company does not think the government's latest attempt to tackle airport expansion in Britain will come up with a concrete plan.

"I think the decision of the government to establish the Davies Commission has been seen by some, maybe seen by many, as a step in the right direction. Personally, I'm not optimistic," IAG boss Willie Walsh told the transport select committee yesterday.

"I think if you look at the history of these commissions? the issue is too difficult for politicians and governments to deal with. We're planning our business on the basis that there will be no change to the capacity at the airports that we operate at in London."

He noted that Dubai airport will overtake Heathrow as the world's biggest international airport "within two to three years".

His gloomy comments came as the London Assembly kicked off its own consultation on air travel. The assembly has already said it will oppose a third runway at Heathrow.


Heathrow and Gatwick airport bosses clashed on Monday over
aviation policy and competition as they appeared before MPs

Roland Gribben - Daily Telegraph - 3 December 2012

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick chief executive, told the Commons Transport Committee he would oppose a third runway at Heathrow and wanted to see Gatwick develop as a competing hub airport. He argued the case for second runways at Gatwick and Stansted to increase competition among south-east airports and develop Far East traffic.

Mr Wingate rejected suggestions that the South East was facing an airport crisis and said: "There's a lot of capacity in the system. The challenge is how to make better use of it in the short term."

But Colin Matthews, Heathrow chief executive, told the committee a third runway was needed at Heathrow to strengthen its role as a premier hub airport and avoid losing international business. He said that since 2003 Heathrow had lost the equivalent of 1,500 flights to China because there were no take off and landing slots for them.

China Southern, one of the world's biggest airlines, had waited eight years to get a foothold at Heathrow. "They were amazed when I told them we had no slots to offer," said Mr Matthews. He maintained that Britain had suffered a considerable loss of trade and jobs because of the pressures on Heathrow and the benefits had been reaped by continental rivals.

Mr Matthews said: "There are 75 long haul connections at Heathrow that can't be served elsewhere in the country. If you squeeze business out of Heathrow it won't pop up at Gatwick. It will pop up at Paris, Frankfurt or Amsterdam." He added: "Amsterdam is eating our lunch."

Mr Wingate felt that the London environment would benefit from expansion at Gatwick and Stansted and said the mayor of London's proposed Thames estuary airport was not a "deliverable solution" because it would cost between £50bn-£80bn.

Nick Barton, Stansted chief executive, said his airport had enough capacity to cope with another 18m-19m passengers a year but needed improved transport links. Glyn Jones, Luton airport managing director, told the committee he had submitted plans to increase passenger capacity to 18m a year.


Capacity problems at airports was already leading
to increased fare prices, says CAA chief

Peter Woodman - The Independent - 10 December 2012

Travellers could be paying £1.2 billion more in air fares by 2030 if there is no airport expansion, an aviation regulation chief told MPs today. Capacity problems at airports was already leading to increased fare prices, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) chief executive Andrew Haines told the House of Commons Transport Committee.

All three main London airports (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted) were capacity constrained at peak hours, he told MPs. "We believe at peak hours passengers are paying more than they would if there was more capacity," Mr Haines told the committee. He said that although he would like to see a major hub airport in future UK aviation plans, it was important not to put "all the eggs in one basket".

Mr Haines said that demand for air travel was "peaky", in that there was a peak in south east England and there was a peak at certain times of the day. "Shifting people away from these peak times, despite attractive fare pricing, is not working," he added.

MPs asked about the so-called "Boris Island" project - a new, four-runway airport in the Thames Estuary favoured by London Mayor Boris Johnson. Simon Hocquard, operations strategy and deployment director for air traffic control company Nats, said "something would have to give" if the estuary scheme went ahead while, at the same time, the existing airports carried on as normal. Asked if all the airports, including the Boris Island scheme, could operate effectively, Mr Hocquard said: "I don't think so."

Mr Haines said the Government needed to come up with a "quite sophisticated" future aviation policy. Any airport expansion would have to be financially viable, safe, sustainable and "not a white elephant" he said.

The Government has appointed former Financial Services Authority chairman Sir Howard Davies to head a commission to report on future aviation policy by summer 2015.

Today, Birmingham Airport chief executive Paul Kehoe told MPs that the Davies Commission had to look at the problem dispassionately and "come up with a solution that benefits the whole country and not just south east England". Mr Kehoe said that the UK had an aviation capacity crisis but that it was "only at one airport - Heathrow".

Bristol Airport chief executive Robert Sinclair said the rise of low-cost carriers had helped aviation but now the costs facing airports and airlines were "potentially causing real challenges".


Travel Weekly Online - 10 December 2012

Any new runways in the southeast of England should be built at existing airports and could be achieved without further misery for local people, the head of National Air Traffic Services (Nats) claims.

Chief executive Richard Deakin says noise disruption for residents living under the Heathrow flight path could be reduced if aircraft came in to land at a steeper angle. The height of aircraft passing over some London suburbs could double under such an initiative. Aircraft currently descend into the airport at an angle of 3 degrees while flying at about 1,600ft as they pass over Richmond.

Nats is working on the possibility of increasing the approach angle to 5.5 degrees, meaning aircraft would pass over at 3,000ft, reducing noise.

Deakin, who is to give evidence to a select committee of MPs today, said Nats hopes to discuss the idea with the Davies Commission which is reviewing UK airport capacity, the Sunday Times reported. "When people talk about additional runways at Heathrow they just assume it's more of the same," he was reported as saying.


Aimee Turner - Air Traffic Management - 12 December 2012

The United Kingdom is considering making satellite-based aircraft navigation mandatory in certain areas of controlled airspace as part of new proposals to overhaul the nation's invisible infrastructure. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has drafted a Future Airspace Strategy (FAS) that it reckons will increase airspace capacity, improve flight efficiency, and reduce aviation's environmental impact.

Speaking today at a London conference organised by the CAA, its chief executive Andrew Haines said: "Every day we hear discussions about a shortage in capacity for aviation in the UK, especially in the south east of England. That focuses almost entirely on runways, but there is much that can be improved just by enhancing airspace utilisation, and if we don't get airspace right, we won't be able to make best use of any new airport capacity. What is more, airspace has a significant impact on the overall efficiency of aviation and also its impact on the environment. For airlines, the airspace system can be a key determinant of fuel burn, punctuality and runway utilisation."

Key improvements that the CAA reckons the FAS could deliver include:
* Allowing aircraft continuous climb-outs on takeoff that get aircraft to their optimum cruising altitude as quickly as possible;
* Providing aircraft with more efficient routings that save time and fuel;
* Better management of arrivals at airports, such as reducing the time aircraft hold before landing;
* Linking the whole aviation network together to share up-to-date flight information, thereby enabling better operational decisions and increasing resilience to unexpected events;
* Using the latest technology throughout the system to increase airspace capacity and safety.

This includes the use of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) that allows aircraft to use satellite navigation, instead of ground based navigation aids, to fly much more accurate routes. The CAA announced at the conference that it will be consulting on a mandate to implement PBN in certain areas of the UK's controlled airspace, building on an existing policy ambition to adopt PBN in the terminal and around airports. Basic PBN capability is already mandated in en-route airspace.

In its latest latest guidance on deployment of the strategy the CAA said it will lead a centralised programme to coordinate the implementation of PBN. "The programme will concentrate on the use of mandates to drive adoption of PBN in specific areas of the network and on specified routes," it states. "Impact assessments will be undertaken by the regulator in conjunction with industry to guide the transition to full PBN adoption in these areas."

The CAA will also seek to expedite implementation of simpler PBN replications at low altitudes around airports and promote the use of more advanced capabilities (RNP) where there is a sufficiently high level of equipage and the potential to realise significant benefits.

"Conventional alternatives will probably be required during the transition. The programme will ensure alternatives are clearly defined and acceptable for both the terminal and en-route environments. The way in which alternatives are used to stage the withdrawal of conventional procedures and incentivise adoption, for example through concepts such as best equipped best served, will also be coordinated as part of the CAA-led programme."

The CAA said that its strategy had been developed in a collaborative way with all major stakeholder groups involved - including airlines, airports, air traffic controllers, general and business aviation, the UK and Ireland aviation authorities, DfT and the MoD. These organisations will now start work on implementing the strategy in the UK and tieing it into European projects such as the European Commission's Single European Sky initiative, which aims to streamline the way airspace is used throughout the continent.

Work on some of the FAS projects is already underway with the objective that UK airspace is made fit for purpose out to 2030. Among the key aviation figures providing their views were easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall; Heathrow Airport chief executive Colin Matthews; and NATS managing director of operations Martin Rolfe.

They heard that the UK's current airspace system has not been significantly updated for over 40 years and that the FAS project will deliver significant benefits for air passengers, the aviation industry and the environment.


ENDS Europe DAILY - 12 December 2012

Auctions of carbon allowances for airlines, called EUAAs, will resume in February, after a commission proposal to exempt external flights from the EU emissions trading system (ETS) caused the sales to be suspended last month.

Aviation allowances that should have been sold in November and December this year will be sold between February and April, while EUAA auctions for the third phase of the ETS (2013-20) will begin in May, the commission has said.

EUAAs are significantly cheaper for airlines than EUAs, which they can also use for compliance. EUAAs closed at ?5.99 per tonne of CO2 equivalent on the ICE exchange.

The 2013 auction timetable for EUAs has also been finalised, with 819 million allowances to be sold into the EU's oversupplied carbon market that year. But this figure will have to be revised if member states agree to remove 400 million allowances from the 2013 sales, as per the commission's backloading proposal.

Confirmation of the huge volume of EUAs to hit the market next year contributed to a downward slide in carbon prices when the market opened on Wednesday.

Separately, government representatives will meet at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) this week to try and make progress towards a global agreement on airlines' greenhouse gas emissions.

An ICAO meeting in November established a new high-level group charged with deciding on one market-based measure for reducing airlines' emissions. Options currently on the table include global mandatory offsetting or an ETS scheme. But this week's meeting, the group's first, is unlikely to take any major decisions, sources say.

Purchases of around 100 million offsets each year up to 2031 would be consistent with a 5.1% cut in carbon intensity per year in the aviation sector, new analysis by consultancy firm PwC suggests. The annual cut in is the level needed across economies if global warming is to be limited 2?C, the firm says.

EU member states' representatives in Brussels will discuss the commission's backloading and aviation exemption proposals in the Climate Change Committee on Thursday, but are not scheduled to vote on either matter yet.


ENDS Europe DAILY - 12 December 2012

The European Commission should not be allowed to overrule local authorities on the noise-related operating restrictions they impose at airports, MEPs said in a resolution adopted during a plenary vote in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

The resolution follows the advice of the parliament's transport committee, which said the commission had the right to scrutinise the measures but not to impose its views on local authorities, which should have the final say.

Ahead of the vote, the EU executive insisted that its intention was merely to review the measures to make sure they are "justified evidence-driven and follow 'the balanced approach' agreed by the International Civil Aviation Organization".

But article 10 of its initial proposal did explicitly said the EU executive could suspend measures it deemed inappropriate and MEPs did not want to run the risk of this happening, an aide to rapporteur Jörg Leichtfried explained.

However, Green MEPs said the parliament did not go far enough because the commission would still be able to challenge measures such as night-time flight bans that are "clearly in the interest of local citizens". "This approach is designed to favour increasing EU airport capacity," said a spokeswoman.

Noise restrictions are just one element of a wider package of measures on airports that also include a proposal to liberalise ground-handling rules. But on Wednesday the parliament rejected this proposal, saying it would affect the quality of services provided at airports. It has been sent back to the transport committee.

It is unclear at this stage whether the various elements of this package will now be split or continue to be negotiated together. An agreement on noise restrictions was reached by EU transport ministers at the beginning of June.


A study of aircraft noise over Saffron Walden
has concluded the effects are "negligible"

Cambridge News - 22 November 2012

Simon Lloyd, town clerk, presented the findings to the town council after a noise monitoring device was left in Bridge End Gardens from November 2011 to January 2012.

It measured the noise of planes using Stansted Airport - a resultant report by aviation expert John Campbell said there was no significant impact.

Mr Lloyd said: "The aim was to estimate a baseline of noise levels so over the next four or five years Uttlesford has something to consider." The study will be repeated in five years.

OUR COMMENT: More information please on the details of the survey.

Pat Dale


Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 24 November 2012

STOP Stansted Expansion (SSE) has renewed its call for a total ban on night flights from the Essex base

The demand came in advance today's (Saturday, November 24's) European day of action.

The Government currently allows Stansted to handle up to 12,000 night flights a year, between 11.30pm and 6am - more than double the number permitted at Heathrow (5,800) even though Heathrow is four times bigger than Stansted.

SSE also hit out at British Airways' 'Super Jumbo' Boeing 747-8 cargo aircraft flights from Stansted, branding the freighters "noisy" even though Boeing maintains its aircraft is one of the world's most advanced - 30 per cent quieter and with 16 per cent less emissions than the aircraft it replaces. According to an airport source, since the introduction of the 747-8 in November 2011, the new jets have not come close to exceeding any of the Government's strict noise limits.

However in evidence submitted to the Government in connection with the current Aviation Policy Review, SSE claimed because of Stansted's rural location, the impact of night flights on sleeping residents is far worse than at Heathrow because ambient noise levels at night are so much lower in the countryside compared to a city.

According to SSE, an independent study carried out last year at Heathrow showed that the cost of a total ban on night flights to business would be outweighed by savings made through the reduced costs of sleep disturbance and stress caused by night flight noise.

Martin Peachey, SSE's noise adviser, said: "The same logic would apply to Stansted. Many of those disturbed by night flight noise around Stansted are people who do vitally important jobs for the UK economy and society. The impact of night flight noise has been consistently underestimated and it's time for the Government to set down a firm timetable for ending the misery of night flights."

Another study, cited by SSE in its evidence, shows that among the health dangers of night flights is sleep disturbance that can seriously harm a child's performance at school.

SSE's evidence to Government on the damage from night flights will be a key part of its submission to the Airports Commission, headed by Sir Howard Davies, which is likely to determine whether or not Stansted should be allowed to expand.

To mark European Day of Action Against Night Flights, demonstrations are planned for major cities across Europe, including London, Paris and Frankfurt.

OUR COMMENT: "Boeing 747-8 is 30% quieter than the aircraft it replaces"
This is a reference to the aircraft's certified noise rating on manufacture and is disingenuous to say the least. In the way that certified noise is measured and compared in decibels and logarithms, this reduction in noise is barely perceptible to the human ear. Furthermore the noise perceived by local residents on the ground can be much more depending on how this very large aircraft is flown, for example if it flies lower and/or with greater thrust with a heavy load.

"The new jets have not come close to exceeding any of the Government's strict noise limits"
The Government noise limits are only checked in one place, that is to say just after take-off. The Government limit is set so high that it is very rarely infringed. In the last three months, there was only one noise infringement out of more than 18,000 take-offs. But there were many noise complaints made to the airport, including complaints for this 747-8 cargo flight. SSE has responded to the Government's draft Aviation Policy stating that aircraft noise needs to be measured more appropriately and the limits need to be tightened in order to more adequately reflect the nuisance caused.

Martin Peachey - SSE Adviser on Aviation Noise


Travelmole News Online - 21 November 2012

UK aviation chiefs have joined forces to launch a widescale public awareness campaign to highlight the importance of flights to local economies.

Posters are to be displayed at airports showing how many jobs and services are dependent on air services and local MPs will be sent bespoke mailings with local authority figures showing how many people are employed directly and indirectly by the aviation industry in their area.

The Aviation Foundation, set up by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Heathrow and Manchester Airport parent MAG, claims aviation directly employs 220,000 people in the UK and thousands of businesses depend on the services provided by this workforce.

As part of its new Great British Flying Test public awareness campaign, it made a film in Carlisle, the town furthest away from a major international airport, to show how even here "a striking number of people" rely on aviation. Carlisle is about 80 miles from Glasgow airport and 256 miles north of Heathrow. The film will be shown on British Airways and Virgin Atlantic flights from January and a link to the film will be included in the mailings sent to MPs. Over the next few weeks, the same information will be sent to Peers and local authority CEOs and other influential figures.

The Aviation Foundation claims that goods worth £60bn were exported by air last year, almost 3m people work in tourism, a sector heavily dependent on air travel, and some 3.7m people in the UK are employed by foreign-owned companies dependent on good air links.

Willie Walsh of BA parent IAG, Colin Matthews of Heathrow, Charlie Cornish of MAG and Steve Ridgway of Virgin Atlantic said in a joint statement: "Local businesses across the UK desperately need world-class air links. Britain has been a proud pioneer in aviation but we are in danger of taking this for granted and falling behind our better-connected competitors. We want to see a greater number of politicians championing aviation. Our Great British Flying Test campaign will be showing them how many of their constituents' jobs depend on aviation and we look forward to discussing the results with them in the run-up to the next election."


Ian Taylor - Travel Weekly - 22 November 2012

The recession put the brakes on the growth of UK passenger traffic but numbers are rising again. It may surprise some in the industry to know that half the UK adult population has not flown in the past two years, and only about one in 10 (11%) made more than two return flights.

The figures are from research by TNS in June this year, but they were confirmed by TNS asking the same question of more than 2,000 respondents at the end of last month. They suggest one-third (34%) of the adult population took one or two return flights in two years. A mere 4% made five or more return flights and just 1% more than 10. That includes flights for business and for visiting friends and family.

These figures fit findings from other sources, including the Civil Aviation Authority. The occasional nature of flying for most people is a major reason why the intensity of concern about airport expansion among industry and business leaders is not matched by a similar level of public concern - except among those who are opposed.

A breakdown of the market suggests that those we might describe as 'occasional flyers' - the 45% of the population who make up to five return flights over two years - are most likely to live in London or the south of England, be under 35, and reasonably affluent. 'Regular flyers', the 4% of the population who take more than five return flights, are most likely to be older (35-54), wealthier and live in the north. They are also most likely to make more domestic or connecting flights, since most overseas destinations are best served from Heathrow.

The growth in annual passenger numbers over the past 20 years has been remarkable, more than doubling between 1992 (106 million) and the 12-month period up to this August (220 million) despite a fall since 2007 (240 million). These figures represent all passengers in and out of UK airports, flying both ways, so the vast majority are double counted.

Looking at the numbers it would be hard to claim that no-frills carriers have caused the market to grow. Passenger numbers rose by 75% in the 10 years to 2000, before the explosive growth of Ryanair and easyJet, and only by 18% between 2000 and 2010. In the 10 years to 2007 growth was higher at 64%: 1997 marked the start of deregulation in Europe which sparked the low-cost boom, but growth still has not matched the pre-budget carrier era.

What marks out easyJet and Ryanair is the way they have made consistently high profits and dominated the short-haul market while legacy carriers with global networks have struggled. The latter have to meet the wholly different service requirements for medium and long-haul flying (and compete with the booming Middle East carriers) while retaining vital share in the short-haul market.

London airports dominate with 61% of all traffic, and Heathrow dominates London. Gatwick has more leisure traffic (84%) than Heathrow (69%), and is busiest in high summer whereas Heathrow is near capacity all year. But the pair are close in one respect: the average annual income of UK leisure passengers in 2011 was just under £56,000 at Gatwick and a fraction above this at Heathrow. At Stansted it was just shy of £50,000.

Gatwick is the biggest airport for UK domestic passengers, handling 2.8 million last year, 8.4% of its total. Heathrow and Manchester also saw more than two million domestic passengers, with Stansted, Birmingham and Luton above one million. Heathrow dominated connecting traffic, with almost 21 million passengers, 87% of the UK total.

A final point of interest: those flying abroad on package holidays last year accounted for 37% of passengers at Gatwick, 47% at Manchester and 13% at Heathrow. Packages remain a vital part of the market from the UK's three biggest airports.


Sinead Holland - Herts & Essex Observer - 23 November 2012

FORMER Transport Minister Steve Norris has called for a Crossrail 1 spur linking London to Stansted - with a tunnel from Sawbridgeworth to the airport.

The ex-Conservative MP said the £5 billion train link would speed passengers to the capital in just 25 minutes, with Bond Street accessible in only 35 minutes and Heathrow just 65 minutes away on up to eight trains an hour. He told the audience at Stansted's transport forum this morning (Friday, November 23) the extension could be a "significant solution" to the rail and aviation capacity gaps putting the brakes on the country's economic growth.

He said of the cost: "That's a lot of money - but the reality is that £5 billion pales into insignificance in the value added to the nation's economy over a decade."

He said he had already pitched the plan to Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan who agreed it was a practical proposition to add the airport link to Europe's biggest construction project. The top Tory said including Stansted in the original Crossrail 1 project, linking Maidenhead to Shenfield, made most sense, rather than an addition to the second and later Chelsea to Hackney line.

Mr Norris told delegates: "The opportunity to put Stansted on the Crossrail agenda is there." He was speaking after Stansted's managing director Nick Barton officially launched the airport's rail vision, calling for faster and reliable rail to bring an extra 1.4 m passengers a year.

Breaking the 30 minute terminal to capital barrier was key to the connectivity challenge, he told 150 top transport leaders, local authorities, airport representatives and stakeholders attending the annual event at the Radisson Blu Hotel. He said: "We have the spare capacity and infrastructure in place to support 35m passengers a year and with faster rail links we can attract the airlines whose passengers value quick and reliable links to London. That's why we launched our new rail campaign - Stansted in 30 - to persuade Government and the rail industry to commit to reducing journey times from London to Stansted to around 30 minutes.

"Stansted is proud to be the leading major UK airport for public transport use, with now 50 per cent of passengers using train, bus and coach to travel to and from Stansted. But we want to build on this success, so that is why we also want to see more frequent trains to Cambridge, East Anglia and beyond opening up the airport to new communities. We believe there is a strong case to link the airport to high speed rail and support the proposals to extend Crossrail to Stansted.

Mr Barton said the current £23m budget for rail infrastructure in East Anglia was "ridiculous" and less than Stansted spent on cleaning its gutters. His call for improvements - for the local community and the region as well as the airport - was also backed by Ruud Haket, managing director of train operator Greater Anglia. He said: "It is clear that a co-ordinated, sustained approach, clearly evidencing the regional, economic and business benefits of rail service upgrades, will give us the best chance of gaining the funding needed to achieve some of the enhancements sought by both air travellers and daily commuters."


Travel Weekly - 23 November 2012

A faster rail link to Stansted would attract an extra 1.4 million passengers to London's third-largest airport, according to a new study.

Bringing the journey time from central London down to 30 minutes from 47 minutes would significantly boost the airport's catchment area and could help Stansted play a bigger role in solving airport capacity constraints in the southeast.

Stansted hired advisory group York Aviation to analyse passenger data gathered by the Civil Aviation Authority. As well as suggesting the boost from shorter journey times, it showed about a third of people travelling through Stansted started or finished their journeys in central London, with another third coming from or going to the east of England.

The airport's regulation and planning director Tim Hawkins told the Financial Times his team had begun talks with Network Rail and Abellio, which runs the West Anglia main line, about taking steps toward achieving the 30-minute target over the next 15-20 years. Shorter-term aspirations include the introduction of a 3.20am service from Liverpool Street, improving punctuality of trains and achieving a five-minute reduction on the shortest journey times by 2017.

Stansted, which is being sold by owner Heathrow, is only half full, handling 17 million travellers last year. Spokesman for the airport's biggest airline customer Ryanair said: "Ryanair hopes that the new owner of Stansted airport will significantly slash prices - rather than worrying about rail lines - in order to stimulate rapid traffic growth."


Malaysia Airports Holdings has entered the running for Stansted airport,
as the owners of London's third hub attempt to stoke up competition in
the £1bn bidding process.

James Quinn, Sunday Deputy Business Editor - Sunday Telegraph - 25 November 2012

The Sunday Telegraph understands that an approach has been made by the group, which owns 39 airports in its domestic heartland, including its flagship Kuala Lumpur International Airport. It is known that Stansted's owner, Heathrow - the airports group formerly known as BAA - has sought out new bidders in an attempt to boost the likely price.

Although there were four existing bidders for Stansted in the first round, Heathrow has been seeking a "stalking horse" suitor to revive the auction process. The original four are Manchester Airport Group (MAG) which is backed by Australia's Industry Funds Management, plus financial investors TPG, Macquarie and HRL Morrison.

Macquarie and HRL Morrison are in the market trying to raise the necessary funds for their respective bids, while it is understood that TPG believes it is being sidelined in the process. Sources close to the auction indicated that MAG had emerged as the favoured bidder, but that Heathrow wanted to secure a strong rival trade bidder to bolster the eventual price.

Malaysia Airports Holdings is 40.4pc-owned by Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia's state investment company. In addition to its own airports, it also owns a 20pc stake in Istanbul airport and a 10pc holding in Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi, as well as stakes in airports in Hyderabad and the Maldives.

The Stansted sales process, the result of Heathrow losing a three-year fight with UK competition regulators, is being managed by Deutsche Bank and ING. A sale is expected in the first half of 2013. A spokesman for Heathrow declined to comment. A spokesman for Malaysia Airports Holdings did not return calls requesting a comment.


The UK's air traffic service provider has launched a pitch process
for lobbying help as the Government prepares to sell off the body

Matt Cartmell - PRWeek Online - 27 November 2012

National Air Traffic Services is seeking an agency as part of a routine search and incumbent Fleishman-Hillard is repitching.

NATS is a public-private partnership and provides air traffic control services to 15 UK airports and Gibraltar Airport. It is currently owned 49 per cent by the Government, four per cent by BAA, and the rest by a consortium of carriers including BA and Virgin.

The Government indicated in the March Budget that it was looking to raise money by selling NATS, which has been valued at around £1bn. NM Rothschild is handling the sale. German state-owned traffic controller DFS is thought to be interested in buying the Government's stake.

NATS head of media relations Caroline Alderson told PRWeek: "NATS is conducting a review, which is routine, and Fleishman-Hillard is part of that process." Alderson declined to provide further information on the process.

NATS recently won the contract to provide services to London Luton Airport. The three-year deal will see NATS continue to provide tower and engineering services, following an open market tender. NATS also works in 28 countries around the world, with staff based in the US, Spain, the Middle East and Hong Kong. The workforce is mainly made up of air traffic controllers and engineers.

OUR COMMENT: Privatise the UK Air Traffic Service? Perhaps to a foreign owned firm as with water, electricity and gas. What about the Houses of Parliament?

Pat Dale


Gatwick Airport has stepped up its campaign for a second runway after
an increase in passenger numbers pushed half-year turnover up 3.6pc

Nathalie Thomas - Daily Telegraph - 29 November 2012

The airport, which is trying to compete with Heathrow as a gateway to destinations in Asia, saw 19.9m passengers pass through its doors in the six months to September 30, up from 19.7m in the same period last year. Holidaymakers and business travellers also spent more while they were at the Sussex airport, helping turnover up from £314.5m to £325.8m. Pre-tax profits jumped to £107.2m from £32.1m previously.

Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick, said the results were proof that competition between the various London airports was the best way of improving aviation capacity in the south east of England. Gatwick, which was bought by Global Infrastructure Partners in 2009, recently announced it had commissioned a study into a second runway.

Mr Wingate believes there is an over-emphasis in the UK on the need for a single hub airport and London could follow a similar model to New York, which is served by three key airports.

"Three years of competition has seen Gatwick grow its European short-haul business, whilst also opening up new routes to key markets in Russia, China, Vietnam and Korea," Mr Wingate said. Passengers are "best served by allowing airports to compete", he added. In New York, Newark and LaGuardia airports both compete with the bigger John F. Kennedy for passengers.

Gatwick has promised to abide by an agreement with the local community which prevents it from opening a second runway before 2019, but the airport has set out its stall as a commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies assesses how to improve airport capacity in Britain.

Rival Heathrow recently claimed the New York model wouldn't work in the UK as there is only one major network airline in this country - British Airways - compared to three in the US. Heathrow also claimed New York is "less well connected than it would be" if it had a single hub airport.


Reuters - 19 November 2012

The British government said on Monday it will postpone two auctions of European Union emissions permits for the aviation sector, after the European Commission proposed freezing its airline emissions law for non-EU flights last week.

"If agreed, this announcement could impact on the volume of aviation allowances to be auctioned during 2012," a Department of Energy and Climate Change spokeswoman said. "As the Commission is unable to determine the precise number of allowances to be auctioned in 2012, we consider that it is sensible to postpone the remaining aviation allowance auctions scheduled for 2012."

No new dates were set for two auctions of a total of 7 million EU aviation allowances (EUAAs), which were scheduled to take place on November 26 and December 10 on the exchange ICE Futures Europe (ICE.N). Last week, the European Commission froze for a year its law that all airlines must pay for carbon emissions for flights into and out of EU airports after opposition from China, India, the United States and other countries.

Airlines that operate flights within Europe still have to pay for their carbon emissions and must still surrender carbon permits to cover their 2012 emissions by April 30, 2013. The European Commission has agreed to provide details on the volume and timing of aviation allowances in due course to allow auctions to be held by April.

"The UK will press for this to be made as soon as practicable to give certainty to the market," the spokeswoman said. The European Commission said on Friday it would postpone the sale of aviation carbon permits, which affects eight scheduled auctions for a total of 24.4 million EUAAs.

Germany was also scheduled to sell around 2.5 million EUAAs, while the EU was due to auction 14.9 million EUAAs in five auctions on EEX before the end of the year. (Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by Jason Neely)

OUR COMMENT: Another blow for climate change carbon reduction policies.

Pat Dale


Andrew Parker - Financial Times - 19 November 2012

The UK government should allow the construction of new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, but not back "insane" plans for a new hub in the Thames estuary, Ryanair told a parliamentary inquiry on Monday.

Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Europe's largest low-cost carrier by revenue, told the Commons transport select committee that Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports should each get an additional runway over the next 10 to 15 years.

He attacked proposals for a new airport in the Thames estuary as "insane, stupid, hare-brained". Boris Johnson, London's mayor, has backed the idea of an estuary hub, which has been proposed by Lord Foster, the architect, among others, because Heathrow is operating at near-full capacity.

Competition regulators have forced Heathrow airport Holdings to sell Gatwick and Stansted airports, and Mr O'Leary said extra capacity at all three airports would be good for the aviation industry and consumers. He questioned the need for the planned independent commission into airport capacity, to be chaired by Sir Howard Davies, former head of the CBI employers' organisation.

Simon Buck, chief executive of the British Air Transport Association, whose members include British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, said it was important the commission's recommendations secured the backing"of the main political parties. He claimed the UK was suffering from 30 to 40 years of indecision by politicians on airport capacity issues, and the ?worst possible thing" would be another period of inaction after the Davies commission.


Travellers from Tayside and Fife are being drawn to Edinburgh Airport because low-cost carrier easyJet can take them direct to their destination,
the company says

James Williamson - The Courier - 21 November 2012

The firm's UK director Paul Simmons said his company "didn't care" about the ongoing debate over capacity at Heathrow or at an alternative hub site in the south east, preferring to operate a direct point-to-point service. He revealed that detailed research carried out by his firm was behind a raft of new services announced earlier this year.

From March the airline will fly direct from Scotland's capital to Berlin, Hamburg, Reykjavik, Prague, Copenhagen and Dubrovnik as a result of an increase in the number of craft stationed at the Turnhouse site. Mr Simmons said the strength of his firm was in flying direct to places people wanted to go, rather than forcing passengers to change planes at an intermediate hub airport.

"We've been trying to build our network to try to attract a lot more business passengers - particularly between London and Europe and Edinburgh and Europe - and have been putting on routes which are more applicable to business travel," he said. "We've also made the frequencies and times more appropriate for business and worked on our on-time performance."

He said the company had been using data from the CAA and passengers to provide the direct routes to the Continent which the travelling public wants. "Our business model is to fly point-to-point and to avoid hubs," Mr Simmons said. "There's a lot of debate in the south east of the UK right now about hub airports - but we don't really care about that."

He stressed that the needs and aspirations of Tayside and Fife's business and leisure passengers were a key part of that work. "These people are the people that we serve as a population, and they have been part of an analysis," he said. "We look at drive times and accessibility as part of that, too."

He was speaking as the firm posted record profits of £317m for the year to the end of September, up 28% on last year. The firm said a sales surge offset the impact of a rise of £182m in fuel costs. It carried 58 million passengers in the year, an improvement of 7% on the previous 12 months, and said its targeting of business travellers had been especially fruitful.

Shares in the group closed up 6% after the company doubled its annual dividend payout to shareholders to 21.5p a share.

Mr Simmons said the profits were "not excessive". "It's a reasonable amount of profit for the customer and for the shareholder," he said. "It shows we are a sustainable business, and I think the customer would much rather have a long-term reliable service at reasonable prices than someone who is not there for the long haul."


Mark Hansford - NCE News Online - 22 November 2012

Owners of Britain's two biggest airports were at loggerheads this week after Heathrow urged the government to ignore Gatwick in any future aviation strategy.

In its first contribution to the aviation capacity debate since the establishment of the government's Airports Commission, Heathrow said that future expansion must centre on hub airports. Its report, One hub or none, sets out why it believes having two hubs connecting London's main airports via high speed rail links is unworkable.

It concludes that creating a single hub airport is the best solution to resolving capacity constraints in the South East. This means expanding Heathrow or replacing it with a new hub airport. The report says it is "impossible" for other non-hub airports such as Gatwick, Stansted or Birmingham to fulfil the same role.

Congestion costs
It cited research by think tank Frontier Economics that shows the lack of capacity at Heathrow airport is already costing the UK up to £14bn a year in lost trade and that this figure could rise to £26bn a year by 2030. But Gatwick Airport disputed Heathrow's claims and said Gatwick was the airport best suited for expansion. A legal agreement with local authorities not to build a second runway expires in 2019.

"Growing Gatwick is the best way to address the current and future capacity problems in the south east," said a spokesman. "A new runway at Gatwick could be more affordable and practical than other options and give passengers a greater choice of routes to key destinations. Critically, we would have a significantly lower environmental impact compared to an expanded Heathrow. The Airports Commission needs to look to the future and not to Heathrow's monopoly past."

More Airports? More Runways?
More Noise? More Emissions?
More Traffic? More Jobs?
The Arguments Continue


John Kay - Financial Times - 6 November 2012

London's airports are operating close to capacity. Noise levels around Heathrow are unacceptable. The location of Heathrow requires that too many flight paths cross the centre of London. Any proposed solution to these problems attracts vociferous objection. What is needed is an independent, radical review of options, which will not report before the next election.

This is not a story from 2012, but from 1968. The inquiry established then was chaired by Mr Justice Roskill. The one just commissioned is to be chaired by Sir Howard Davies. Not much else has changed - except that London's airports then catered for 15m passengers. The Roskill Commission anticipated rapid growth in air transport, speculating that by the end of the century London might have to accommodate 100m passengers. Not a bad estimate; the actual number was 115m.

The commission concluded that a new airport should be built to the northwest of London at Cublington, between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, with matching improvements to road and rail links. The report is a model of dispassionate analysis. Although its reliance on cost benefit analysis was widely criticised, that analysis was not employed to make decisions but used as a guide to the careful organisation of evidence. The contrast between the work of the commission and the dismal quality of the material supporting the proposed new high-speed rail link to Birmingham is a measure of how far standards of evidence in policy making have declined.

Not that the excellence of the Roskill Commission's work did them or us much good. A government of different complexion rejected its findings immediately. A scheme to build an airport at Foulness, on Maplin Sands in the Thames Estuary, was chosen instead. This option had been considered by Roskill and decisively rejected. The new airport was too expensive to build, too far from London and on the wrong side of the city for most prospective passengers. The poor location would not only greatly increase travel times but also lead airlines to use other airports to the south and west of London, or on the continent of Europe.

Neither Foulness nor Cublington was built. The complexion of the government changed yet again. After some delay, another scheme was devised: a limited expansion of an existing airport at Stansted, near Cambridge. More than a decade later, the newly privatised British Airports Authority used the money generated from its cash cow at Heathrow to finance that project.

Stansted was also considered by Roskill, but never made the shortlist of serious options and has been a predictable failure. No airline has successfully operated long-haul flights from it. The expansive and expensive Norman Foster terminal was saved from being a white elephant by the growth in the 1990s of low-cost airlines, for whom attractive landing charges at Stansted offset the inconvenience to their passengers of getting there. The principal carrier is Ryanair.

Cublington was almost certainly the right answer in 1971 when Roskill reported. It might still be the right answer but the scale and complexity now involved in creating a wholly new facility in the English countryside would be orders of magnitude greater. Delay has multiplied the constraints and while Roskill was faced with a menu of choices, Sir Howard confronts one with no palatable dishes at all. And whatever the government decides after his work is completed, aircraft will disturb the residents of west London for many years yet, and travellers will continue to circle the city as business flights from newly emerging economies land at Paris and Frankfurt.

One might feel consoled if there were even slight signs that the lessons of bad policy making had been learnt. But the prevarication and political posturing, the persistent incrementalism when bold actions are required, the readiness to oppose policies simply because they have been espoused by somebody else, are as characteristic of policy today as they have been for the past 50 years. Models are more elaborate but less useful, and grossly misused. And, as Roskill pointed out, the 100,000 people who might have been adversely affected by a rational policy are encouraged to shout far louder than the 100m who would benefit.

OUR COMMENT: Will 100m really benefit? Major decisions do need enough time for careful consideration AND accurate statistics.

Pat Dale


Nicholas Cecil, Deputy Political Editor - London Evening Standard - 13 November 2012

TORY MPs today urged David Cameron to speed up an inquiry into airport capacity to end the "blight of uncertainty" hanging over west London. They threw their weight behind Mayor Boris Johnson's demand that the report by former London School of Economics boss Sir Howard Davies should be delivered before the 2015 general election.

Many hope the study will rule out another Heathrow runway for good. "West Londoners can't start living all over again under the blight of uncertainty," said Angie Bray, MP for Ealing Central and Acton. "I would imagine that if minds are applied to it [the report] properly, it could certainly be done before we get to the next general election."

Brentford and Isleworth MP Mary Macleod said: "I would rather go into the election with a definite view on what my party has decided is the future aviation strategy and how it affects Heathrow."

Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, believes attempts to kick the issue into the long grass will fail, with Heathrow being a key issue at the next election and the Government appearing "crippled" by fear. He has threatened to stand as an independent if his party reverses its opposition to a third runway.

Mr Johnson, who wants a new airport in the Thames Estuary or at Stansted, has raised the prospect of a judicial review to force the Government to publish the study before 2015. Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, said: "People respect politicians who take decisions. They might not like the decision but at least they have got a firm answer."

The Department for Transport defended the timescale of the inquiry, which will see a shortlist of locations for expansion published next year. A spokesman added: "History suggests that without an agreed evidence base and a high degree of political consensus, it will not be possible to deliver a lasting solution that is right for the UK."

A poll for the Standard yesterday found nearly half of MPs strongly back or tend to support Heathrow expansion.


Up to one million long-haul business and first-class passengers flights
which leave the UK every year could be put at risk if the Government does
not maintain a single hub airport, Heathrow will argue this week. At this stage Heathrow will not say where the single hub airport should be sited, believing that it has to first win the argument that such a hub is necessary.

Kamal Ahmed, Business Editor - Sunday Telegraph - 11 November 2012

In the airport's first tranche of evidence to be put before the Davies Committee, Heathrow will say that only a single hub airport allows for a sufficient number of vital transfer passengers. At present 1m long-haul business and first-class passengers travel through Heathrow every year, nearly 85pc of all such traffic that leaves the UK. The airport relies on transfer passengers from other international destinations to support the number of flights that leave Britain to vital business centres in China and the USA.

The report will say that if the hub is split, for example between Heathrow and Gatwick, that essential transfer traffic will be lost. The number of destinations served will therefore be cut, at a cost to British businesses. At this stage Heathrow will not say where the single hub airport should be sited, believing that it has to first win the argument that such a hub is necessary.

Other airports such as Birmingham and Stansted claim that they could take more of the forecast passenger traffic increase, taking pressure off Heathrow and meaning there would be no need for more runways at the congested airport west of London. But the Heathrow report will argue that such a plan would never work at "point-to-point" airports which rely on leisure traffic because they do not receive enough transfer passengers. "Direct and transfer passengers have to work together," said one source.

Although Heathrow will not rule out a new hub in the Thames Estuary Estuary-airport - the preferred option of the London mayor, Boris Johnson, the airport's owners will make it clear that if the hub moves, Heathrow will largely close.

Although some have said Heathrow could operate as a slimmed down airport, officials pointed out that the site had huge transfer facilities which would have to be moth balled. Thousands of jobs would therefore be at risk.


Airport bosses want inquiry to examine case for huge expansion

Nicholas Cecil and Joe Murphy - Evening Standard - 6 November 2012

Heathrow bosses today called on a major inquiry into airport capacity to examine plans for not only a third runway but a fourth as well. The move will alarm hundreds of thousands of residents in west London and environmentalists. Many campaigners against a third runway have long feared it would pave the way for a fourth.

Sir Howard Davies is to chair an expert committee examining options for airport expansion.

The prospect of two more runways at Heathrow has been raised by the Free Enterprise Group of Tory MPs. The centre-Right think tank Policy Exchange has also promoted plans for a four-runway airport west or north of the capital.

A Heathrow spokesman said: "We don't endorse either proposal but we do believe that the Davies commission should consider any option for a single airport capable of handling the UK's future hub capacity needs. Like all the options, these have their strengths and their weaknesses, which is why the commission needs to undertake a thorough analysis of them all."

Aviation experts believe it is highly unlikely that Heathrow would be allowed to increase in size so dramatically given the furore over additional noise and pollution from just one more runway. Significantly, Sir Howard believes the debate on this issue is shifting with predictions of slower growth in passenger numbers.

The Free Enterprise Group wants the Government to grant planning consent simultaneously for two more Heathrow runways to turn the airport into "a truly world class hub". The group, which is supported by 40 MPs, outlined its proposal in a paper published this summer. It argued that a fourth runway could be located either north of the airport by the M4 or south at the locations of the villages of Bedfont and Stanwell and incorporating Ashford football club.

Alternatively, a third and fourth runway could be placed alongside each other, to the west of the existing runways, going through the village of Poyle and just north of Stanwell Moor.

Spelthorne MP Kwasi Kwarteng, a member of the group, said: "The Davies report should look at everything that has been suggested." John Stewart, chairman of anti-expansion group HACAN, is in favour of Sir Howard looking at options for four-runway hubs since they were already "on the table", adding: "I would expect he would rule them out at an early stage."


Allowing both runways to be used for arrivals and departures
at same time would be 'devastating' say council bosses

Pippa Crerar and Mira Bar-Hillel - Evening Standard - 13 November 2012

Relaxing restrictions on Heathrow's existing runways would destroy the quality of life of more than 5 million people, the Government's aviation commission was warned today. The all-party 2M group, which represents 20 councils under the flight path, warned that allowing more plane traffic would be as damaging as building a third runway.

Council bosses want guarantees that alternating runways - which gives residents a break from aircraft noise - and limits on night flights will not be sacrificed so Heathrow can handle more flights. They claim that permanently allowing both runways to be used for arrivals and departures at the same time, the 'mixed mode' system thought to be of interest to David Cameron, would have a devastating impact.

Anti-Heathrow campaigners are now collating evidence for the commission, chaired by City heavyweight Sir Howard Davies, which was launched by the Prime Minister to examine the case for airports expansion across the UK. It comes after a poll for The Standard revealed a third runway at Heathrow is the most popular option among MPs for solving the South-East's air capacity crisis, despite the Prime Minister and Ed Miliband opposing the idea.

Heathrow, the airport owner, will unveil its first submission to the inquiry tomorrow. In the past, the 2M group has blocked attempts to introduce mixed mode and overturned the previous Government's plans for a third runway in the High Court.

The areas under Heathrow's flight paths are the most densely populated parts of the country. On a typical day the first planes approach over South and West London from 4.30am. Intervals between aircraft are around 90 seconds. Heathrow is currently required to use one runway at a time for arrivals. They are switched each day at 3pm to ease the impact on people living below.

The airport is also restricted to landing no more than an average of 16 aircraft between the hours of 11.30pm and 6am so residents under the flight path can sleep. Most of these arrive after 4.30am. The 2M group will also tell the Commission that air pollution around the airport already breaches legally-binding EU limits and any expansion of flights would make the situation worse and face legal challenge.

Ravi Govindia, leader of Wandsworth council and 2M spokesman, said: "No other airport in Europe has flight paths over such densely populated areas. We will urge the Davies Commission to dismiss any proposal that heaps more misery on these communities. The prospect of full mixed mode is just as distressing as a third runway and should be ruled out at the earliest opportunity."

Derek Osbourne, leader of Kingston council, added: "We cannot afford to lose the little protection people have against the noise and disruption which blights so many Londoners' daily lives, affecting their health and stopping them getting a good night's sleep."

It comes as the London Assembly's environment committee called for combined 'noise maps' for Heathrow and City airport to show how many residents are affected by aircraft noise from both.


Roisin Burke - The Independent - 11 November 2012

RYANAIR faces a potential conflict of interest with its chairman David Bonderman heading a bid for Stansted Airport - the asset in which it badly wanted a stake, according to the body representing Ireland's biggest investors.

"There is undoubtedly a conflict of interest here," said Frank O'Dwyer of the Irish Association of Investment Managers. "A chairman is responsible for the board and it's to the board that the management report," said O'Dwyer.

US tycoon David 'Bondo' Bonderman runs multibillion dollar investment giant TPG, a main bidder for Stansted, which is up for sale, priced at over ?1bn. Until recently Ryanair was avidly chasing a 25 per cent stake in the airport, only dropping the plan last month when the airport's owner said it wouldn't sell to the airline.

The matter is further complicated as Ryanair is Stansted's biggest client and could become a customer of its chairman's company if TPG buys the airport. Famed for leading the buyout of Continental Airlines in the Nineties, and also for having the Rolling Stones play for his 60th birthday in Las Vegas, Bonderman has been chairman of Ryanair since 1996 and co-founder of TPG. He holds ?45m worth of shares in the airline.

"He wasn't involved in any meetings regarding Stansted, he is not involved in any of the day-to-day running of the airline," a Ryanair spokesman said. "We don't see any conflict of interest."

"An information barrier was put in place before the process began, before September so there wouldn't be any discussion or conflict," a source at TPG said. However a key responsibility of the chairman set out by Ryanair is that "he ensures that board agendas cover key strategic issues confronting the group; that the board reviews and approves management's plans for the group."


Barbara Lewis - Reuters Brussels - 12 November 2012

The European Union will freeze for a year its rule that all airlines must pay for their carbon emissions for flights into and out of EU airports, the EU executive said, following threats of international retaliation.

Flights by within the European Union will still have to pay for their carbon emissions. The year-long exemption will apply to flights linking EU airports to countries outside of the bloc.

Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said she had agreed "to stop the clock" to create a positive atmosphere for international talks on an alternative global plan to tackle airline emissions. "But let me be very clear: if this exercise does not deliver - and I hope it does - then needless to say we are back to where we are today with the EU ETS. Automatically."

The United States, China and India have put intense pressure on the European Union. Debate in the U.S. Congress is set to resume this week on legislation to counter the EU rules. U.S. politicians welcomed Monday's news, but wanted more. "While I am pleased the EU has temporarily suspended its efforts to unilaterally impose a tax on our airlines flying over U.S. and international airspace, the EU's announcement does not rule out future efforts to tax foreign carriers," said Senator John Thune, who has led the push for the blocking law in the U.S. Senate.

EU member states still have to formally endorse the Commission's proposed freeze. Hedegaard said she had informed representatives of all 27 member states of the Commission's plan but could not specify how long the EU approval process might take.

Representing Europe's biggest economy, German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier said the Commission decision was justified. "It made clear that the EU is holding on to its view, but at the same time it is also in the position to stick to its international commitments and actions," he said.

Some airline associations welcomed Monday's announcement, but said the moratorium meant EU carriers operating flights within the bloc could be at a competitive disadvantage.

Environment campaigners said the European Union was giving up too much, too soon. But they said opponents could no longer blame the European Union for any lack of progress at the U.N.'s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which is seeking an alternative global deal. "The Commission, with today's decision, has moved further than necessary given the little progress made so far at ICAO level," Bill Hemmings, programme manager at campaign group T&E, said. "There is no excuse for inaction left."

The European Union agreed on its law after more than a decade of talks at the ICAO failed to find a way to curb aviation emissions. It always said it would modify its legislation if the ICAO could deliver an alternative. Hedegaard said the ICAO had made good progress at a meeting in Montreal on Friday. Efforts have intensified since the start of this year, when the EU's requirement for all airlines to buy carbon emissions began to take effect.

The law is being phased in slowly, which means the first bills would only be sent out in April next year after the calculation of this year's emissions. Any airline that does not submit carbon allowances by then would face stiff fines. The proposed year-long waiver - meaning no carbon payments before April 2014 for international flights - gives the ICAO until its general assembly late next year to reach a global deal.

The Association of European Airlines (AEA) said the ICAO was the right body and that now the onus was on it. "In their opposition to EU ETS, countries such as the USA, Russia, China and India have repeatedly stated that the issue should be dealt with in ICAO. Now they have the chance to show that they mean it," Athar Husain Khan, acting secretary general of the AEA, said.

The cost of the EU's aviation law is minimal, at 1-2 euros (0.80 pounds to 1.60 pounds) per passenger per flight, given the weakness of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, on which the carbon price has sunk under a glut of surplus permits following the region's economic slowdown. The cost to aviation is expected to rise, though, and on Monday, the Commission also published draft legislation to temporarily withdraw some of the surplus allowances.

International opponents of including aviation in the EU scheme say it is a question of principle. They argue the European Union is imposing an extraterritorial tax, although the Commission says its market-based mechanism is not a tax.

(Additional reporting by Ethan Bilby in Brussels, Nina Chestney in London; Valerie Volcovici in Washington; Marilyn Gerlach in Frankfurt and Markus Wacket in Berlin; Editing by Rex Merrifield and Jane Baird)

Aviation - more economic favours?


Tim Yeo attacks plans by senior ministers to ensure that shipping
and aviation are left out of UK carbon budget

Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent - The Guardian - 6 November 2012

The former Conservative cabinet minister, Tim Yeo, has sharply criticised plans by senior ministers to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions from aviation and shipping will not be included in the UK's carbon budgets. He warned that to leave out these major sources of emissions would contravene the 2008 Climate Change Act, which stipulates emissions cuts of 80% by 2050.

Yeo said this could contribute to dangerous climate change, and that if these transport sectors were left out, other parts of the economy would have to make steeper cuts: "If aviation and shipping emissions are now excluded, the overall target reduction for all other sectors would need to be increased from 80% to around 85%," he said.

Yeo chairs the parliamentary select committee on energy and climate change, which has written to ministers to urge them to include these major forms of transport in the UK's carbon budgets. A decision on whether to include them is expected later this year.

George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, is known to be reluctant to take any measure that could be construed as adding to consumers' bills. He wants to be seen as championing consumers by refusing regulation, and to appeal to the right wing of the Tory party, many of whom are sceptical of green issues. His supporters in government are also understood to have raised concerns with the Department of Transport and the Department of Business, Information and Skills.

Emissions from aviation and shipping have been a heated issue in climate change debates. Aviation alone accounts for close to 3% of global emissions, but because it is difficult to apportion the emissions from international flights to one state or another, governments have tended simply to shelve the issue. The sectors were left out of the 1997 Kyoto protocol, because rows over how to include them could not be resolved. But this situation is untenable in the long term, argue climate experts, because as international travel and global trade are growing, emissions from the sectors are increasing.

The European Union became the first to attempt to regulate emissions from aviation this year, by including international flights in its emissions trading system. That means airlines must buy carbon permits to cover the emissions generated by all of their planes that take off or land in EU member states.

Airlines protested that this would add to the costs of flights and encourage carriers to avoid Europe. In practice, however, the inclusion adds very little to the cost of flights because the price of carbon permits is so low, at just a few euros per tonne. Some other countries are unhappy at the regulation. The European commission is embroiled in a dispute with the US and China over the inclusion of flights in the trading scheme. The US Congress has moved to legislate on the issue, in order to forbid US airlines from complying.

In the UK, bringing aviation and shipping into the scope of the carbon budgets would mean that, in future, either emissions from these sectors would have to be brought down, or those of other sectors, such as energy or road transport, would have to be cut even more sharply than planned.

But the Treasury is understood to be concerned that including aviation and shipping in the budgets would raise the price of airline tickets and the cost of goods imported by ship. Green campaigners believe that including the sectors would encourage them to become more efficient.

Yeo said the sectors should be included in the UK's carbon budgets, which set out how much can be emitted over a set period of years. Not including them would ignore a major and growing source of emissions. He said: "The aim of the Climate Change Act was to demonstrate British leadership in the international effort to avoid a global temperature rise of 2C, widely regarded as a dangerous potential tipping point for the climate. We must not lose sight of the fact that the ultimate cost of failing to keep temperature rises below 2C could be measured in floods, mass migration, economic disruption and chaos."


ENDS Europe DAILY - 8 November 2012

The parliament's transport committee has voted against giving the EU executive a right to overturn noise-related operating restrictions at airports.

The European Commission had sought the right to suspend measures that did not comply with rules proposed last year. The rules would implement the internationally-agreed 'balanced approach' to managing airport noise, which prioritises measures having the least impact on business.

The German, Austrian, French and Dutch parliaments and Council of Ministers have argued noise-related operating restrictions should be subject to subsidiarity rules.

The transport committee reached the same conclusion on Tuesday. The EU executive should merely scrutinise the measures and make recommendations to local authorities, it said in a resolution adopted in Brussels.

The committee put more emphasis on selecting effective measures to curb noise, and less on considering their potential economic impact. It wants greater transparency through wider consultation on planned measures. The MEPs also wanted greater alignment with the environmental noise directive. An EU consultation on the implementation of this directive closed on 25 October.

They also said closing a runway at certain times should take precedent over other noise-related operating restrictions. The commission wanted this to be a last resort.

The parliament committee called for a stricter noise threshold for marginally compliant aircraft, which have noise levels only slightly lower than international limits set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). These airplanes face more serious noise restrictions at EU airports.

At the moment marginally compliant aircraft are those that are 5 Effective Perceived Noise in Decibels (EPNdB) below maximum permitted levels. The MEPs said this threshold should first be lowered to less than 8 EPNdB and then to 10 EPNdB four years later. This is to encourage the replacement of the noisiest aircraft.


A dramatic increase in noise pollution is being caused by the
wrong type of wind according to BAA who spoke before
Hammersmith Town Hall on Tuesday

Jordan O'Brien - SW Londoner - 9 November 2012

The entirety of South West London has been affected by the increase in noise pollution with complaints about aircraft noise rocketing to more than 900%. Councillors initially believed that the increase of complaints was due to an on-going trial which allows BAA to use Heathrow's two runways simultaneously under certain conditions.

BAA's Director of Airside, Tim Hardy, said: "The significant increase in noise complaints is probably due to the unusual weather we've had recently which has seen 90% of wind coming from the west between July and September."

Hammersmith and Fulham's Cabinet Member for Transport & Technical Services, Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, was furious at the claims that the wind direction could adversely affect thousands of residents. "If a bit of wind can dramatically increase the noise hell that west London residents are enduring then it proves that the UK's hub airport is fundamentally in the wrong place," she said.

"It makes no sense for thousands of planes to roar over densely populated areas, where millions of people live, when they could be making their final approach over water if the airport was to the east of London."

The 2M Group, which includes Hammersmith & Fulham Council, is an all-party alliance of local authorities such as Brent, Camden, Ealing, Greenwich, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond, Southwark, Sutton and Wandsworth. The group has previously fought off expansion of Heathrow Airport winning a high court ruling against a third runway in 2010.

They believe that a third runway will not increase the likeliness of new routes operating out of Heathrow instead leading airlines to fly more flights to existing locations, which are much more profitable. The group said: "The choice of where planes fly to is made by neither the airport owner nor the government. It is made by the airlines who will naturally prioritise the more profitable routes."

Currently around 655 aircraft fly over Hammersmith & Fulham everyday with flights beginning at 4:20am and lasting until midnight, with a flight every 90 seconds. "The noise is terrible on my street," said Fulham resident Fiona Evans. "I am inviting BAA to come to my home and experience the aircraft noise that I am enduring at 4:30am."

Other residents have also expressed displeasure with the increase in noise pollution. Lambert said: "Sleep deprivation is a massive quality of life issue in west London and I don't know many people who enjoy being woken up at 4:30am whatever the so-called benefits to BAA."

The results of a government commission, led by former FSA chairman Sir Howard Davies, examining the UK's airport are due to be released in 2015, after the next general election. The 2M Group, along with Mayor Boris Johnson, has asked the commission to rule out any possible expansion of Heathrow, instead opting to evaluate alternatives, such as Boris Island.


Sam Tonkin - Dunmow Broadcaster - 13 November 2012

STANSTED Airport has re-launched its interactive noise website as a tool for residents to find out more about the possible effects of aircraft noise in their communities.

The new-look www.stanstedairport.com/noise features a redesigned homepage making it simpler for people to find the information they need, while a range of new factsheets offer details about how noise is caused by different aspects of aviation, and what action the airport takes to reduce it.

The site continues to offer its innovative on-line aircraft tracking system, 'WebTrak', which allows users to track aircraft arriving and departing from the airport, and displays their height, allowing them to make more detailed enquiries about aircraft noise.

Graeme Wade, Stansted Airport's head of noise communications, said: "Our newly revamped noise section of our website is essentially a 'one stop shop' for noise enquiries and provides the facility for members of the local community to investigate for themselves the aircraft movements before logging their noise enquiries and complaints online."

"The updated website is another positive development in the open way in which we work with local communities to share as much information as possible about aircraft operations at Stansted Airport."


Sir Howard Davies counters criticism that commission -
which will produce final report after next election - is too slow

Gwyn Topham - The Guardian - 2 November 2012

The leader of the newly launched airports commission has countered claims that his inquiry will serve as a political delaying tactic by pledging to offer practical answers by next year, well before the next general election.

The commission is charged with examining "the scale and timing of any requirement for additional [aviation] capacity", according to its terms of reference released on Friday. It will produce its final report in June 2015, a month after the election, but Sir Howard Davies, who is leading the inquiry, said its interim report in 2013 would narrow down the options for airport expansion to those it considered feasible.

"The experience of recent years shows we need a robust evidence base which has the support of a broad consensus of opinion," Davies said. He has pledged to provide an open-minded assessment of the business and environmental cases for and against airport expansion.

Davies admitted he was highly aware of criticisms that his review would be "booting into the long grass" what has become a toxic political issue, and promised to deliver full, feasible solutions ready for implementation - including producing short-term options for expanding aviation capacity in the south-east in his interim report. Earlier, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, criticised the commission as too slow and described it as a "policy of utter inertia".

Davies said by next year he would have given feasible options for any measures short of runway expansion, which is ruled out in the current coalition agreement. His interim report will narrow down the options for airport expansion to those the commission believes are workable, potentially refocusing the debate on Heathrow versus a new four-runway hub airport - the mayor's preferring solution ? before the election.

The transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, announcing the commission's terms of reference and which academics and aviation experts would be assisting Davies, said: "Aviation is vital to the UK economy and we need to have a long-term aviation policy which meets the challenges of the future. Sir Howard and his team will now take forward this vitally important work for the government and bring a much-needed fresh perspective to the debate."

Davies said his team, who between them have worked on delivering the Olympics, managed airports and sat on key environmental bodies, had the range of skills and experience required. "With open minds, we will take time to explore the evidence, consider the options and aim to develop a lasting solution to the nation's aviation needs," he said. "Our ambition is to do a thorough piece of work that will ensure aviation continues to support this country's economic, social and environmental ambitions. We aim to put the next government into a position in which rapid and implementable decisions can be soundly made."

The other five commissioners are Sir John Armitt, former chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority and former chief executive of Network Rail; Ricky Burdett, professor of urban studies at the London School of Economics; Vivienne Cox, former CEO and executive vice-president of BP Alternative Energy; Dame Julia King, vice-chancellor of Aston University and a member of the Committee on Climate Change; and Geoff Muirhead, the former CEO of the Manchester Airport Group.

The government said the commission would "examine the scale and timing of any requirement for additional capacity to maintain the UK's position as Europe's most important aviation hub; and it will identify and evaluate how any need for additional capacity should be met in the short, medium and long term". Davies seemed to implicitly accept an underlying need for new capacity, but he has pledged to examine all the evidence, including Department for Transport forecasts for passenger growth that underpin the debate.

A spokesman for Heathrow, whose planned third runway was cancelled by the coalition government in 2010, said: "We hope the Davies commission will build consensus on the UK's requirements for hub capacity and then rigorously assess every option against those needs. None of the options for hub airport capacity is easy. Every choice, including doing nothing, has its consequences." Gatwick airport said it would be submitting full plans to Davies for building its second runway.

Despite Davies's pledge to advance the timetable as much as he could within the current political constraints, business groups urged the government to let him report sooner. Corin Taylor, of the Institute of Directors, said: "Sir Howard Davies is obviously doing the best he can with the hand he was dealt, but it seems that the commission will have solid conclusions based on extensive research ready well before 2015. Business needs to know what they are as soon as possible."


Howard Davies has an onerous task in choosing
whether we need a new airport or an expanded Heathrow

Editorial - The Observer - 3 November 2012

Sir Howard Davies, the man with the job of deciding whether Britain needs a new airport, must be looking with some alarm at the precedents. In 1971, after more than 18 months of work, the Roskill commission recommended that a four-runway airport to serve London be built at Cublington, near Aylesbury.

When Michael Noble, then minister for trade, opened the debate on the commission's findings in the Commons, he said of its authors: "I hope that they may draw some comfort from one of my hon friends who said that the fact that he totally rejected their conclusion did not in any way diminish his admiration for the way in which they had done their work and presented their report." Their plan, of course, never got off the drawing board.

Committing the Conservatives to blocking a third runway at Heathrow was a key plank of David Cameron's strategy to detoxify the Tory brand and prove that he would put polar bears before sharp-suited businessmen. It was also built on political expediency - he needed to win Conservative seats in the area. Further, it was a recognition that the building of a third runway would hurt Britain's then leading role in reducing global carbon emissions

But with the economy trapped in a deep malaise Cameron is having a rethink. There is a strong lobby that suggests that UK plc needs extra airport capacity in order to boost future economic prospects. Also, the UK is on track to meet its Kyoto targets, albeit partly because of economic weakness. There is, too, an argument that the tax system may be a better way of reducing the number of unnecessary flights than a ban on building new runways. Flight travel is simply too cheap compared with rail fares - this is the fault of a tax system that gives an advantage to airlines.

George Osborne now firmly believes that if the UK really wants to build an economy that can properly connect with the rest of the world it needs more airport capacity. But the economic case is being driven largely by self-interested parties, not least British Airways, the British Airports Authority and the bodies that represent them.

It will be a crucial part of the Davies commission to identify the economic benefits a new airport or runway would deliver. Multinational companies make inward investment decisions on the basis of a whole range of factors, including the skills of the workforce, the strength of the currency and the generosity of state support for industry. Whether the chief executive can jet in direct from Chicago or Shanghai may be a marginal consideration.

However, those advocating the development of a hub airport may have a case. If Britain allows its one airport that comes close to being an international hub to become ever more clogged up while Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Madrid and Paris become transit points for Europeans, including enterprising Brits, wanting to get to the fast-growing economies of China, India or Brazil, there is a risk that economic opportunities will be missed, ambitions stunted, jobs lost.

However, if any British government is to press the case for extra airport capacity, it needs to make a convincing case for continuing to meet its ambitious carbon emissions target. As this paper said in 2008: "It will require a radical programme of wave and wind turbine construction, nuclear industry expansion and the building of underground vaults to store the carbon dioxide that currently pours from the nation's coal, oil and gas power plants."

Unfortunately, there is absolutely no evidence that this government's energy policy is fit for that purpose. Indeed the government's desire to pursue a dash for gas as a future energy strategy is precisely the wrong direction of travel.

Even if the case for a hub airport is established, Heathrow is not the only answer: Heathrow already creates all-but-unbearable noise, pollution and disruption for unlucky residents, and its transport links are groaning. Of those affected by noise pollution in Europe, 30% live in and around Heathrow. Is it really sensible to build more airline capacity in the middle of a major population centre?

There is a plausible case that bringing in as many planes as possible - the proposed estuary airport - over sea instead of hundreds of thousands of rooftops makes more sense. As importantly, a giant new airport would provide a powerful economic boost for an area where unemployment is high. Although characterised, until now, as a Boris Johnson vanity project, there is support from politicians of all persuasions to the east of London to try and create a hub - in all senses - which would address the historical inequalities and poverty to the east of the capital.

There is no easy solution. Davies will need wisdom and a good dose of political nous to weigh up the issues - the financial and environmental costs and any economic advantages. He should use his authority to seize the initiative and insist that the question of airport capacity in the UK be settled sooner rather than later. Otherwise, the likelihood of a repeat of the Roskill commission is all too likely.


The Prime Minister's leadership on extra airport capacity
for Britain has not been good enough

The Times - 3 November 2012

In politics to say that something is in the "long grass" is to say that it is in the wilderness. It happens with an issue that a politician wants to be seen to care about but, ultimately, not one he ranks as important enough ever to act on. That, it seems, is what the Prime Minister thinks about the need to update this country's airport capacity.

We now have the testament to this effect of none other than Sir Howard Davies, the man chosen to be the head of the commission that is looking into the question on behalf of the Government. "The coalition has said it is not going to make this decision before the election," he said in a radio interview yesterday, before adding, "so how can you make best use of your time in the long grass?"

This is a decision of major economic and strategic importance. The urgency of the economic case for extra airport capacity means that every lost day is lost business. It is clear that where London has a direct flight to a city, trade between those two entrepôts is greatly increased. European airports, especially in Frankfurt, are developing their direct connections to the most populous and most prosperous Chinese cities.

If the Davies Commission does not report until after the 2015 general election, it will be 2016 before the government of the day responds. Then, under Britain's sclerotic planning procedure, it could be years - well into another political cycle - before construction begins.

Quite apart from the detriment to the British economy, this failure to expedite a decision will cement the damaging idea that democratic government is unable to take difficult decisions with long-term consequences. The arrangement of a coalition has not stymied decision-making as much as it was feared it might. The Olympics showed what can happen when a government makes a bold decision and sticks by it. This is a decision at least as important.

The reason for this delay is arch. David Cameron and George Osborne calculate that any choice they make - most likely between Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and a new airport in the Thames Estuary - will put safe Conservative parliamentary seats in jeopardy. The election of 2015 will be tight, and a decision on airports could cost them a second term. It is a self-serving calculation, putting what they see as their party's electoral best interests over the economic best interest of their country.

In fact, this is a miscalculation, as dithering will damage Mr Cameron nationally. He will be seen as indecisive and political, and will still face local resistance in West London and elsewhere if he does not spell out, at the very least, where he will not build.

Mr Cameron's handling of the issue of London's airport does him no credit as a leader. And, along with aeroplanes stacked over London, lost competitiveness and long delays, there may be an even heavier toll to be paid for this cynical indecision. It will further poison the public's respect for politicians. Indeed, it not only will, but should. Rather than go to the electorate in 2015 with a clear plan for airport capacity, the Conservative Party proposes, should it still be in office, to implement the Davies recommendations, which will emerge during the next Parliament, without a democratic mandate.

The Conservative Party used to earn a lot of political capital, reasonably enough, with the accusation that Gordon Brown could do nothing, faced with a big decision, but dither. The Prime Minister's political future will rest on the economic prospects for the country and the stature of his own leadership. On the question of airport capacity he is behaving in the manner of his predecessor. He must bring forward the Davies Commission with no further delay.


Boris Johnson has called for an urgent decision on airport expansion

Roland Watson, Political Editor and Robert Lea - The Times - 2 November 2012

David Cameron criticised Boris Johnson yesterday after he threatened to undermine a commission on the future of London's airports before it had begun. The Prime Minister said that the Mayor of London was wrong to rule out a third runway at Heathrow on the morning that the panel charged with studying the aviation needs of the capital was announced.

He also made clear that Mr Johnson would not have a veto over a once-in-a-generation decision that was critical for the country as a whole. "In the end the decision is a national decision that the Government has to lead," Mr Cameron told The Times. "What is not right is to say, I only want my options considered and not anyone else's." The Prime Minister was speaking after Mr Johnson rejected the timetable of the commission, to be headed by Sir Howard Davies, and suggested that he would refuse to go along with any recommendation he did not like.

Mr Johnson insisted that a third runway at Heathrow, understood to be the preferred option of George Osborne, the Chancellor, would be "a complete disaster" and "simply will not happen". Keeping the issue open into the next election would be "toxic and disastrous" for the Tories because voters would think that the party was preparing to go back on its 2010 promise not to expand Heathrow, he said.

Mr Johnson, who wants a new airport in the Thames Estuary, said that the Davies commission should produce a recommendation much more quickly, albeit one that did not involve Heathrow. His comments threatened to rob the commission of the political consensus Mr Cameron believes to be vital to push through such a large and contentious project.

In an interview with The Times, Mr Cameron urged Mr Johnson to respect the fact that Sir Howard had "a completely open mind" on the issue. "What I would say to Boris, what I have said to Boris is that for the first time a government has properly put all the options, including estuary options, on the table. Boris is passionate about the idea of an estuary airport. Now he has a forum in which to put forward his arguments in a way that he hasn't in the past."

The Institute of Directors and the business lobby London First joined Mr Johnson in calling for more urgent action. But Sir Howard conceded that he was hamstrung by the politics of runway expansion and insisted that he would be sticking to delivering his final report after the next general election. He admitted that the Airports Commission timetable could be construed as kicking the issue of airport expansion into "the long grass".

"People such as Michael Heseltine make good points saying we need urgent decisions. But of course there is the political reality," he said. "There is a strong case for a commission that tries very hard to rebuild a consensus on what we need and where it should be. The eventual rebuilding of a broader consensus about the options for the future is necessary in order to get good quality decision-making."

Sir Howard said that he would hold a number of public hearings to make the best use of the timetable that has been forced on the commission. It will deliver consultation papers on key issues and then put them before a public forum of what he described as "interested parties and the knowledgeable".

That could begin as early as January with aviation demand forecasts. He said that the present data was outdated and that he was commissioning research to take account of the economic dislocation of the past four years. That will be followed by hearings into climate-change and environmental effects; noise pollution and potential financial compensation for sufferers; the real economic benefits of aviation; and a strict definition of a "hub airport" and whether Britain needs one.

Sir Howard said that the interim report, due by the end of next year, would provide "credible options" that would be worked up into a detailed conclusion in the summer of 2015. He said that the report and preparatory work would enable an incoming administration to act quickly if it chose to do so. However, business leaders criticised the delay in decision-making. Baroness Valentine, chief executive of London First, said: "On the current timetable we will not see progress for over a decade. We cannot prevaricate while competitors are growing capacity and establishing their links to growth markets. We call on the commissioners urgently to provide a route map to delivering more hub capacity and growing our air links in under a decade. Our economy depends on it."

Corin Taylor, economic adviser to the Institute of Directors, said: "Sir Howard Davies is obviously doing the best he can with the hand he was dealt but the Government must look again at the excessive length of time before they allow him to report. The uncertainty already caused by years of delay is damaging enough without waiting even longer to make a decision."

Sir Howard named the five other members of the commission. They are: Sir John Armitt, brought in for his infrastructure and transportation expertise. The former chief executive of Network Rail chaired the Olympic Delivery Authority and is infrastructure adviser to Ed Miliband. Dame Julia King, who brings climate change and aerospace technology expertise. She sits on the Government's Committee on Climate Change and is a former Rolls-Royce executive. Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics. He was architecture and unbanism adviser to the Olympics and is an adviser to the Mayor of London. Geoff Muirhead, the former chief executive of Manchester Airports Group, who brings airport management experience. Vivienne Cox, who brings the perspective of big business as well as expertise in alternative fuels. She formerly headed BP's renewable energy business and currently sits on the boards of Rio Tinto, BG Group and Pearson.

The commission is to be funded by the Department for Transport but no details have been released of its budget. It will have a secretariat of ten from the DfT, the Treasury and the OECD. It will have an academic advisory panel and can ask for additional funds to commission external research. All the commissioners will be unpaid.

Alistair Darling, the former Labour Chancellor, voiced frustration that the report would not be published until mid-2015. "Nearly all of this ground was covered ten years ago when we produced the White Paper on Aviation in December 2003. Listening to Sir Howard I was struck by the fact that the arguments haven't changed one jot in ten years. It is not Howard Davies's fault that he has been told to go away and not to come back in a hurry by the Government. I agree with Boris Johnson that this is something that we simply cannot put off until the election."

Mr Darling, who defied Ed Miliband by calling for the approval of a third runway at Heathrow, added: "Everyone knows there is a problem here and we just need to get on with it. I know it is difficult politically but it is so important as an economic driver at a time when we are coming out of the deepest recession that we have seen in well over 100 years. We are never going to get ourselves on a sustainable path if we keep putting these things off."

OUR COMMENT: No change of heart there!

Pat Dale


Written Statement by Minister for Transport - 2 November 2012

On 7 September, the Government announced its intention to create an independent commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, to identify and recommend to Government options for maintaining the UK's status as a global aviation hub. Following discussions with Sir Howard, the Government is now in a position to announce the full membership and terms of reference for this body, which will be named the Airports Commission.

In selecting members of the Airports Commission, the Government worked with Sir Howard to identify individuals with a range of skills, backgrounds and experience. The Commission also intends to appoint a panel of expert advisors, to enhance its capability to address issues that fall outside of the direct experience of the Commissioners.

In addition to Sir Howard Davies, the full membership of the Commission includes:
* Sir John Armitt, the former Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority and former Chief Executive of Network Rail
* Professor Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics and director of the LSE Cities research centre
* Vivienne Cox, the former CEO and Executive Vice President of BP Alternative Energy and a former member of the BP Executive Management Team
* Professor Dame Julia King, Vice Chancellor of Aston University and a member of the Committee on Climate Change, with a background in the aerospace industry
* Geoff Muirhead CBE, the former CEO of the Manchester Airport Group

The Commission's terms of reference will be as follows:
* The Commission will examine the scale and timing of any requirement for additional capacity to maintain the UK's position as Europe's most important aviation hub; and it will identify and evaluate how any need for additional capacity should be met in the short, medium and long term.
* It should maintain a UK-wide perspective, taking appropriate account of the national, regional and local implications of any proposals.
* It should engage openly with interested parties and members of the public, providing opportunities to submit evidence and proposals and to set out views relevant to its work.
* It should seek to engage with a range of stakeholders, including with local and devolved government as well as the Opposition, to build consensus in support of its approach and recommendations.

The Commission should report no later than the end of 2013 on:
* Its assessment of the evidence on the nature, scale and timing of the steps needed to maintain the UK's global hub status; and
* Its recommendation(s) for immediate actions to improve the use of existing runway capacity in the next five years - consistent with credible long term options.

The assessments and recommendations in the Commission's interim report should be underpinned by a detailed review of the evidence in relation to the current position in the UK with regard to aviation demand and connectivity, forecasts for how these are likely to develop, and the expected future pattern of the UK's requirements for international and domestic connectivity.

Its assessments of potential immediate actions should take into account their economic, social and environmental costs and benefits, and their operational deliverability. It should also be informed by an initial high-level assessment of the credible long-term options which merit further detailed development.

The Commission should report no later than summer 2015 on:
* Its assessment of the options for meeting the UK?s international connectivity needs, including their economic, social and environmental impact;
* Its recommendation(s) for the optimum approach to meeting any needs; and
* Its recommendation(s) for ensuring that the need is met as expeditiously as practicable within the required timescale

The Commission should base the recommendations in its final report on a detailed consideration of the case for each of the credible options. This should include the development or examination of detailed business cases and environmental assessments for each option, as well as consideration of their operational, commercial and technical viability. As part of its final report in summer 2015, it should also provide materials, based on this detailed analysis, which will support the Government in preparing a National Policy Statement to accelerate the resolution of any future planning applications for major airports infrastructure.


Simon Burns says Conservatives will implement Sir Howard Davies'
findings on runway capacity in south-east England

Gwyn Topham, Transport Correspondent - The Guardian - 22 October 2012

The aviation industry has seized on an apparent shift in policy on airport capacity in south-east England, as the aviation minister committed to accepting the recommendations of an independent commission.

Simon Burns, speaking at the Airport Operators Association (AOA) conference, said the Conservatives would back and implement the findings of the commission led by Sir Howard Davies when it reports in 2015. Previously his boss, the transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, has only pledged to "consider" its recommendations on the question of whether extra capacity, including a third runway at Heathrow or new airports, is needed.

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the AOA, said his organisation "welcomes the aviation minister's unambiguous commitment to acting on the findings of the airports commission. We have been seeking such a commitment since the commission was set up, to ensure that its work was meaningful and would not be a waste of time of taxpayers' money. We now respectfully ask whether the Labour and Lib Dem transport teams will follow suit."

The government later appeared to row back from Burns's comments, with sources saying it was "committed to the process" and hoped the commission would provide solutions.

The shadow transport secretary, Maria Eagle, said: "We've had a whole year of dither and delay from the government since Labour first proposed an independent aviation commission. Even after appointing Sir Howard Davies to lead this work, ministers are still trying to avoid taking decisions by asking the commission not to report until after the next election."

The terms of reference for the commission and its other members are yet to be confirmed, almost two months after it was first announced. Burns said there would be more details within weeks.


Andrew Parker, Rose Jacobs and Mark Odell - Architects Journal - 26 October 2012

Plans are being drawn up to solve the UK's aviation capacity crunch by linking Heathrow and Stansted airports in a "dual hub".

Make, a firm of architects, is developing proposals under which an expanded Stansted airport could be connected with Heathrow through the £15bn Crossrail line that will run between east and west London. The Stansted idea stems from Ken Shuttleworth, Make's founder, who previously worked with Lord Foster, the architect behind the idea of a £23bn hub airport in the Thames estuary.

Make's plans might prove politically more attractive than Lord Foster's because expanding Stansted could be cheaper than building another airport. Boris Johnson, London's mayor, supports an estuary airport but he is also willing to back a bigger Stansted.

Make's work is likely to be contentious because the owner of capacity-constrained Heathrow says a dual hub is likely to be unworkable because transfer times between the two would be lengthy. Make wants to explore whether Heathrow could continue to operate alongside Stansted if the Essex airport were expanded from one to as many as four runways.

"Perhaps there is a solution where both [Heathrow and Stansted] can coexist," said Stuart Blower, a partner at Make who is working on its project to expand Stansted. "It's almost a London hub... as opposed to Stansted and Heathrow being separate."

He described expanding Stansted as "perhaps the least worst of the options" for fixing the crunch in southeast England's airport capacity. He highlighted how Stansted, unlike Heathrow, was not located in a densely populated area and had good road links because of proximity to the M11 motorway.

Mr Blower suggested it could be cheaper and quicker to expand Stansted than to build a hub in the estuary. "Our philosophy is very much an approach of 'let's see what can be done with the existing infrastructure'," he said. Mr Blower, who worked on Heathrow's Terminal 5 and Madrid's Barajas airport, said the Stansted project was six months old but far from complete. No costings have been done yet.

Make is considering how Stansted could improve its poor rail links to central London. It takes at least 45 minutes to travel on the existing line from Liverpool Street station. Mr Blower is examining if Crossrail - due to open in 2018 - could be extended by building a spur line from Stratford station in east London to Stansted.

This could result in journey times of 25 minutes between Stansted and Stratford, and also provide a direct link to Heathrow - the west London airport is already planned as a spur terminus on Crossrail. However, it would take at least an hour to travel between the two airports.

Crossrail could provide Stansted with the opportunity to tap into the planned £17bn High Speed 2 rail line from London's Euston station to Birmingham, at the Old Oak Common interchange. Finally, Make is also looking at linking Stansted to the High Speed 1 line, from London St Pancras to Paris, that includes an existing station at Stratford International.

But even if Stansted's rail connections can be improved, entering into a dual hub arrangement with Heathrow would involve a fundamental change to the Essex airport's business model. Since the revamped Stansted opened in 1991, it has focused on serving low-cost carriers, led by Ryanair, that fly to Europe. Stansted has suffered during the downturn, as people have cut back on holidays. Passenger numbers have fallen from 23.8m in 2007 to 18m last year. It has a lot of spare capacity with its one runway being able to support 35m passenger flights each year. By contrast Heathrow, the UK's only hub airport, was operating at near full capacity on its two runways last year, at 69.4m passengers.

Creating a successful dual hub of Heathrow and Stansted would almost certainly hinge on persuading one of the three global airline alliances to locate operations at the Essex airport. British Airways, a leading member of Oneworld Alliance, one of the world's three largest groups, is expected to remain based at Heathrow, so Stansted would need to woo either SkyTeam, including Delta, Air France and KLM, or Star Alliance, which includes Lufthansa, United and SAS.

Mr Blower stressed that Stansted's expansion could be phased and initially might involve adding one runway. But eventually, under Make's plans, Stansted could become a mega-hub with four runways, capable of handling 150m passengers each year.


Arguments over a third runway at Heathrow are distracting from the long-term debate over Britain's aviation future, engineers will tell the government today

The Engineer - 26 October 2012

In response to the government's draft Aviation Policy Framework consultation, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) argues that the debate shouldn't be whether to build a third Heathrow runway or a new hub airport, but whether a fourth runway is possible.

Together with the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT), the ICE is calling for the independent commission addressing the future of UK aviation, led by Sir Howard Davies, to favour a twin-track approach to aviation capacity. This would help to relieve capacity restraints in the short term while maintaining the UK's Europe-leading position in the long term.

"To maintain its global economic competitiveness, the UK needs a hub with more than three runways and rapid access to Central London," said Alex Lake of the ICE's aviation expert panel. "If we decide Heathrow can't or shouldn't be expanded to this size we will need to develop a new hub facility elsewhere in South East England. This will naturally take time, so the Davies Commission must press on with evaluating all available long-term options now."

"This however, does not remove the need for action over the next 5-10 years to keep the UK in the game in the short term. The Commission must therefore simultaneously conduct a thorough review of all the short term options."

The consultation response states that the UK's approach should also acknowledge the crucial role regional airports play through connecting flights to the national hub and ensure their ability to fulfil this role isn?t undermined by lack of access to landing slots at Heathrow.

The institutions are also warning that expanding Heathrow or building a new hub airport will never become a reality if investors do not believe the UK has an aviation strategy that can survive a change of government. They argue that the solution is a statutory body similar to the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to implement the Davies Commission's recommendations.

Sue Percy, CIHT chief executive, said: "The creation of an Independent Commission to examine future capacity needs and how they could be met is welcome, but its final report will not be published until after the 2015 General Election, potentially causing yet more delay and indecision and damaging the UK's credibility as a location for private investment in aviation infrastructure."

"The Commission's interim report in 2013 must indicate a clear direction of travel and come 2015, Government should make an unambiguous decision that has cross party consensus and can be driven forward." The ICE's Alex Lake added: "When it comes to the UK's airport infrastructure needs, there are some tough political and public choices, but the UK's reputation is on the line. We must establish an agreed, coherent strategy that reflects our future capacity needs and sets out how they could realistically be met over both the short and long term."

"The transport and engineering profession stands ready to contribute expertise gained on recent large scale projects - not least the Olympics - and ensure the Commission receives robust advice on the challenges and deliverability of all the solutions on the table."


First choice... Stansted could get new runway

Tom Newton Dunn, Political Editor - The Sun - 26 October 2012

The Essex airport is now preferred by George Osborne and David Cameron to provide additional runway space. The revelation came as the row over the Coalition's dithering over where to build desperately-needed new capacity exploded again yesterday.

Former CBI boss Sir Howard Davies, the head of a three-year commission, admitted the issue had been "booted into the long grass for political reasons". Tories and Lib Dems agreed last month to delay the key decision - because both vowed in their election manifestos not to build a third Heathrow runway.

Mr Osborne believes Stansted would be by far the cheapest option, Treasury sources said. It would cost a fraction of the £60billion for Mayor of London Boris Johnson's mooted island airport in the Thames Estuary. The Sun has also learned that Boris privately said he would be happy with Stansted as a second choice.

But Mr Johnson laid into Government delaying tactics. He fumed: "Can I tell you how many runways they are going to build in China in the next nine years? 52. How many are we going to build in the UK? None. It is a policy of utter inertia."


A firm of architects is developing proposals whereby Stansted
airport could be linked to Heathrow by high speed rail

Dan Milmo - The Guardian - 29 October 2012

Heathrow airport has warned that proposals to create a "dual hub" by twinning it with London Stansted will struggle to succeed.

A firm of architects has suggested that Britain's largest airport and its sister airport in Essex could be connected by the £15bn Crossrail route that links Heathrow to the eastern fringes of the capital and is due to open at the end of the decade. The idea by the Make firm envisages Stansted becoming a four-runway airport, while a new rail spur would link the expanded site to Crossrail.

However, José Leo, Heathrow's chief financial officer, said the idea is a commercial risk because it would take too long to transfer passengers between airports to connecting flights. "I don't feel particularly convinced about the possibility of operating a dual hub. The key driver for a hub is its ability to provide a very quick connection for transfer passengers. If you introduce a 30-35 minute journey into the process, that will make the challenge even more difficult to handle."

Sir Howard Davies, former director of the London School of Economics, is leading an independent commission that will examine ways to expand the UK's airport capacity.


Mira Bar-Hillel - The Evening Standard - 22 October 2012

Plans for a new four-runway London mega-hub at Stansted capable of handling 150 million passengers a year were unveiled today.

The proposal's backers say building a huge new airport in the Essex countryside will be easier, quicker and less expensive than the £50 billion "Boris Island" scheme in the Thames Estuary. The Stansted vision has been put together by Ken Shuttleworth, the architect behind the Gherkin Tower in the City. The plans from his practice, Make Architects, would see Heathrow either entirely redeveloped or drastically reduced in size.

They would involve building three new 4km-long runways at Stansted and creating a new Crossrail link from Stansted to Stratford, reducing train journey times to 25 minutes. The Norman Foster-designed 1991 main terminal building could also be transformed into a train station under the plans but full architectural details have yet to be revealed. Timescales and construction cost have also yet to be confirmed.

Mr Shuttleworth said: "Stansted has very good transport links in terms of the M11 and railway and fairly low population density. It's also closer in real terms to the majority of people in the UK, rather than just London."

But any proposal to expand Stansted would meet huge opposition from highly organised local residents' groups. The new bid is the latest option on the table for the Government, facing increasing pressure to find a quick solution to London's aviation bottleneck.

Mayor Boris Johnson is thought to be moving away from his idea of an estuary airport and towards Stansted as a site for a hub airport. Gatwick has already announced plans for a new runway to double its capacity to 70 million passengers a year.


Sam Tonkin - Saffron Walden Reporter - 25 October 2012

THE race to solve the UK's aviation crisis is hotting up following the emergence of a series of leaked proposals - including radical plans to transform Stansted into a four-runway mega hub capable of catering for up to 150million passengers a year.

Campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion's economic advisor Brian Ross told the Reporter while the group was not complacent about the developments, there was no reason for people to panic over a proposal he believed was unrealistic and financially unviable.

The plans, which include building three new 4km-long runways and a new terminal, are the brainwave of architectural firm Make Architects, founded by the creator of 'The Gherkin' in London. Ken Shuttleworth believes his vision, which would also see the creation of a Crossrail link from Stansted to Stratford to reduce train journey times to the capital to 25 minutes, is the only viable solution and would be easier, quicker and less expensive than an alternative £50billion scheme to build a new transport hub in the Thames Estuary, dubbed 'Boris Island'.

Similar alternatives to build four runways at Luton Airport and another so-called solution to create a new airport hub in Oxfordshire have also been unveiled by other architects - in what is expected to be the start of a wave of lobbying attempts ahead of a final decision by the Government in three years' time. It follows the announcement last month that former Audit Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies has been commissioned to conduct an independent review into the UK's aviation capacity, due for completion in the summer of 2015.

Saffron Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst said it was "nonsense" to suggest expanding Stansted was the only feasible option. "If that were true why has an independent review been commissioned to look at all the alternatives on the table? That is just the architects' opinion," he explained. "Nevertheless, we must steel ourselves against all sorts of ideas that will be going around over the next three years because it will be open house with this review being set up."

He also said the £8billion crossrail suggestion was not the answer, adding if there was that sort of money floating around he would rather it was spent on improving the mainline so that all passengers could benefit.

Mr Ross said SSE "was not particularly worried" about the proposal and added the group did not want to "cry wolf" by panicking people when there was likely to be many more suggestions between now and 2015. "We do not think there is any credibility in this plan because the numbers simply don't add up. Anyone can draw plans for an airport on the back of an envelope and most proposals are not to be taken seriously. When architects are short of work they have a habit of designing castles in the air. They'd be better off spending their spare time learning some basic financial arithmetic."

But Mr Shuttleworth has argued the advantages of expanding Stansted are its "very good" transport links with the M11 and railway, "fairly low" population density and that it is closer to the majority of people in the UK, not just London.

Further details on building timescales, construction costs and the architectural design are yet to emerge but the firm said it was continuing to work with engineers to investigate the proposal in greater detail.

Other plans on the table include those put forward by Foster + Partners and global giant Gensler, each looking to create a new hub in the Thames Estuary, while last week Gatwick announced new plans for a second runway to double its capacity to 70m passengers a year.


Rose Jacobs - Financial Times - 28 October 2012

TPG, the US private equity group created out of the buyout of Continental Airlines 20 years ago, has emerged as a bidder for Stansted, London's third biggest airport. The US company has submitted a first-round offer for the £1bn asset and is understood to be up against investors including Macquarie, the Australian investment bank, and a partnership between Manchester Airports Group (MAG) and Melbourne-based Industry Funds Management.

Stansted was put on the block this summer after BAA, its owner, lost a final attempt to overturn a 2009 Competition Commission ruling ordering it to dispose of three airports, including Essex-based Stansted. While several people close to the talks believe MAG stands the best chance of winning Stansted, TPG would bring experience in the aviation sector - as well as a co-founder, David Bonderman, who chairs the board of Ryanair, which is Stansted's biggest customer.

Ryanair has blamed BAA's user fees for falling traffic at Stansted, and aviation experts agree a new owner will need to work closely with the airline to bring passenger numbers back to 2007 levels, when the airport processed 24m travellers annually, compared with 18m last year. Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief executive, spoke to several potential bidders earlier this year about taking a stake in the airport. But he said last month that BAA, which now calls itself Heathrow after its biggest airport, ruled out any sale to a consortium that included Ryanair.

Stansted is one of three airports in the UK where take-off and landing charges are determined by regulators, producing steady returns for its owner. The auction drew initial interest from a half-dozen investors around the world but only three are understood to have made formal bids. BAA and its controlling stakeholder, Ferrovial, are expected to give bidders further details of the contest this week, including setting a deadline for second-round offers. To make the shortlist, bidders will need to prove they have the operating experience necessary to run the airport.

TPG has remained active in aviation since Mr Bonderman bought Continental out of bankruptcy in 1993 and created Texas Pacific Group a few months later. Just this spring, it held talks with US Airways about a joint bid for American Airlines, which filed for Chapter 11 late last year.

Stanted is expected to sell for a discount to the £1.3bn the UK's aviation regulator estimates its assets are worth. But its value could increase dramatically depending on the role UK policy makers decide it should play over the coming decades in expanding airport capacity in and around London. Boris Johnson, London's mayor, has indicated support for expansion at Stansted where he opposes it at Heathrow, and other parties have proposed making it the region's new hub airport.


Sophie Sassard and Anjuli Davies - Reuters London - 29 October 2012

New Zealand investment manager Morrison & Co has entered the race for Britain's Stansted airport, people familiar with the situation said, which has been put on the block by Ferrovial, the operator of Europe's biggest airport Heathrow.

Other bidders include Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which is in a partnership with Australia's Industry Funds Management (IFM), Macquarie's infrastructure fund and private-equity firm TPG, the people said. Morrison is putting together a consortium including New Zealand funds Infratil, the owner of Glasgow Prestwick airport as well as New Zealand Superannuation Fund, one of the people said.

Ferrovial (FER.MC) is expected to close a deal in the first quarter of 2013 as bidders would need time to study Stansted's accounts and fund a deal estimated around 1 billion pounds, the people said. MAG is seen as the frontrunner given its sector expertise and financial firepower due to its partnership with IFM, which took a 35 percent stake the operator earlier this year.

"The problem (for Ferrovial) will be to have a solid second bidder to compete with MAG," said a financial source familiar with the sector but not involved in the deal. Stansted, a predominantly leisure and holiday airport 50km north east of London, flew 17.4 million passengers last year. It was put up for sale in August after Ferrovial was forced by Britain's competition regulator to sell off assets and loosen its grip on the UK market.

MAG and IFM hired JP Morgan (JPM.N) and Gleacher Shacklock to advise on a bid while TPG is working with UBS, the people said. ING (ING.AS) and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) are advising BAA. Heathrow, MAG, Morrison, Macquarie and TPG declined to comment.

Low-cost Irish carrier Ryanair accounts for about 70 percent of the traffic at Stansted where the airline's combative approach to pricing is expected to drag down the deal's value well below other recently sold airports such as Gatwick and Edinburgh.

Stansted was estimated to be worth about 1.3 billion pounds based on regulatory calculations but Ferrovial would likely have to take at least a 10 percent discount, the people said. Earlier this month, Ryanair was excluded from taking part in the sale. "It is all in Ryanair's interest to get the lowest possible price for the deal so that the new owner would have more manoeuvring room to keep fees down", said a person familiar with the situation.

The ongoing regulatory crackdown has been a major headache for Ferrovial. When it bought BAA, the British airport operator recently renamed Heathrow Ltd, for 10.3 billion pounds in a highly-leveraged deal in 2006, Ferrovial planned to keep all of its airports and make them more efficient by outsourcing services. Instead, it has been forced to sell assets at a time when valuations are lower than when it bought the business.

The battle for Stansted was expected to draw U.S. banks, pension funds and Asian operators. Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong Holdings vehicle was also thought to have been interested via a bid for a stake in MAG that it lost out to IFM. ($1 = 0.6241 British pounds)


Marietta Cauchi - Dow Jones Newswires - 31 October 2012

UK airports operator Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd., formerly BAA, has short-listed four bidders for Stansted airport, people familiar with the situation said Wednesday.

The shortlist includes Manchester Airports Group, which is owned by 10 local authorities and already operates Manchester, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports. It is bidding jointly with Australia investment firm Industry Funds Management. New Zealand investment management company H.R.L Morrison & Co. Ltd. has also made the cut and is bidding jointly with two funds it manages - publicly-listed fund Infratil Ltd. (IFT.NZ) and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. U.S. buyout giant TPG and Australian company Macquarie Group Ltd. (MQBKY) are the other two bidders still in the competition.

Heathrow, which is part owned by Spain's Ferrovial SA (FER.MC), is selling the airport to satisfy competition concerns after a four-year battle with regulators. It has already sold Gatwick, London's second-busiest airport, and Edinburgh airport to comply with the UK Competition Commission's concerns over its dominance of the UK airport sector.

Deutsche Bank AG (DB) and ING Bank NV are running the auction for Stansted, which has been valued at 1 billion pounds ($1.58 billion). Detailed sales information will be sent out imminently and the bidders given access to due diligence. It is unclear when the next bids are due, but the sale is expected to completed in the first half of 2013.

Ryanair Holdings PLC (RYAAY), Stansted's biggest customer with around 76% of all passengers, didn't submit a bid but has held talks with potential buyers about the airport's future. Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary has consistently criticized BAA's management of the airport, blaming it for the dramatic drop in passenger traffic from a high of 24 million passengers in 2007.

Figures out Monday showed a 4.6% drop in traffic for the nine months to Sept. 30. That translates to 13.5 million passengers compared with 14.1 million for the same period last year. Any new owner will have to balance investment to improve the airport experience with the need to keep operating costs manageable for carriers.


Isabelle Smets - Europolitics - 29 October 2012

In the future, airlines will be able to buy and sell airport landing and take-off slots perfectly legally. Doing so today is neither explicitly banned nor explicitly authorised under European legislation (Regulation 95/93/EC). After tough negotiations, the EU's 27 transport ministers agreed, on 29 October in Luxembourg, on a change in the rules to legalise such transactions.

For now, slots are traded in a sort of legal grey zone at the extremely congested airport of Heathrow (UK). The business is profitable: the Commission reports that in 2008, Continental Airlines paid US$209 million (?143 million at the exchange rate at the time) for four pairs of slots at Heathrow. This type of trade - known as the 'secondary market' for slots - would thus become entirely legal in the future.

It nonetheless took a number of breaks in the session, several compromise texts and bilateral negotiations over lunch for the ministers to agree. France, supported by Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Spain and Portugal, called for a safeguard clause enabling states to set restrictions on the buying and selling of slots when this trade creates a "significant and demonstrable" problem. It ended up getting its way.

The United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Latvia were willing to accept the clause only in cases where the Commission approves the restrictions in advance. Under the compromise worked out, restrictions on slot buying and selling must be notified to the Commission, which may object to them within three months. This was enough for the Council Presidency to declare an agreement. The United Kingdom alone tried to obtain more by calling for notification to the Commission to precede the adoption of restrictions, but that option was rejected.

On the other hand, the Council refused to touch the sacrosanct "historic rights" under which airlines keep their slots from one season to the next provided these are used at least 80% of the time. The Commission had hoped to raise this figure to 85% to force airlines to make better use of their slots, given limited airport capacity. It also wished to encourage the entry of new airlines because, when the threshold is not reached, the slots are put back into a pool to be redistributed partially to new entrants.

The ministers therefore refused to change the 80% threshold - Sweden was the only state to defend the idea while noting that it could also accept 80% - and they also rejected the idea of allocating slots in longer series than at present. Slots are allocated today in series of five, corresponding to five consecutive weeks of flights at the same time on the same day. The Commission wished to increase the number to 15 for the summer season and ten for the winter season.

The least that can be said is that the EU's Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas is not pleased with this turn of events. He urged the member states to continue their discussions and said that he may well demand that they adopt their political agreement unanimously. States do not vote at this stage (general approach). On the other hand, they will have to vote in the next stage, i.e. for there to be a political agreement (once Parliament has concluded its first reading). If the Commission is opposed, they will have to agree unanimously. This type of statement is out of the ordinary in the Transport Council, and given the United Kingdom's position, may call the compromise into question. Will the Commission go that far? It is not accustomed to making such statements lightly, said Siim Kallas.

The business of trading slots is profitable: the Commission reports that, in 2008, Continental Airlines paid around 143m euro for four pairs of slots at Heathrow.


Travel Weekly - 24 October 2012

Airline cancellations and delays would be halved by creating a single European air traffic control area.

The estimate from the European Commission came as MEPs pressed for the implementation of a merger of national air traffic control spaces without further delays. In a resolution adopted yesterday (Tuesday) MEPs said creation of a single European sky would help clear congestion, boost safety, reduce flight times, delays and fares, create jobs and cut CO2 emissions. They want the Commission to put pressure on member states, including possible sanctions, to meet their obligations.

The Commission estimates that the full and swift deployment of the Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research (SESAR) technology would lead to the creation of 328,000 jobs and cut CO2 emissions by some 50 million tonnes. Passengers and airlines would benefit from cost reductions as congestion would be relieved, flight times would be cut by some 10% on average and cancellations and delays would be halved.

Conservative MEP and spokesman on transport and tourism Jacqueline Foster said: "We have to have proper, efficient use of air space and 21st century technology for traffic management available to avoid the consumer having to pay twice: in time and in price." Foster, who drafted the resolution which was adopted by a show of hands, added: "Defragmentation of European air space is unacceptably slow." She called for "greater urgency in order to avoid possible safety and operational risks with increasing traffic flows".

EU member states made firm commitments to merge their national air control spaces into nine Functional Airspace Blocks by December 4 and to move progressively towards a single European sky. But only two such blocks are ready, over Scandinavian skies and the UK and Ireland.

MEPs called for 'performance indicator schemes' to be implemented and called on the Commission to adopt a 'top-down approach' by proposing new legislation, including possible sanctions and EU funding where necessary.

The Single European Sky initiative was launched in 2004 to reform air traffic management across Europe. Its key objectives are to restructure European airspace to create additional capacity and increase the overall efficiency and safety of air traffic.


ENDS Europe DAILY - 26 October 2012

The European Commission has proposed to strengthen and speed up procedures on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of projects.

Its proposal to revise the EIA directive was unveiled on Friday. It largely follows plans previously outlined by various sources and takes into account several court rulings, including one clarifying that demolition works are covered by the law.

One of the changes proposed consists of harmonising the screening process to determine whether an EIA is required. Rules in this area are not applied evenly across the EU at the moment, notes the commission. This will be achieved by clarifying the criteria for screening annex II projects, for example on project locations and their potential impact. Criteria on new environmental issues have also been added.

The proposal also makes more references to the need to only conduct EIAs on projects with a significant environmental impact. Another change is the introduction of a new annex detailing what information project developers should supply during the screening process. Cumulative effects with other projects would have to be considered, which should prevent EIA evasion through'salami-slicing' projects into smaller ones.

Only one assessment fulfilling all the requirements of directives on, for example, habitats, birds and industrial emissions would also be required. As reported before, national authorities would also have to justify their decisions over whether or not an EIA is required. This is already a requirement in some countries. They would have no more than three months to decide on screening and to reach a final consent decision. Both deadlines would extend to six months in some cases.

Public consultation would last 30-60, or exceptionally 90, days. Member states may apply "reasonable timeframes" for the other phases of EIA. The proposal will now be sent to the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, which are likely to begin their discussions under the Irish presidency.

OUR COMMENT: Hopefully this possible improvement in environmental standards that will need to be met before major developments are approved will be allowed for when the Davis Commission considers the pros and cons of expanded/new airports.

Pat Dale


A deadline of October 23 has been set for bids
to be submitted to takeover Stansted

Travel Weekly - 15 October 2012

Spanish construction giant Ferrovial, which owns the airport's parent BAA, has set the deadline after it the disposal was ordered by the Competition Commission. A joint venture between Manchester airports Group and Australian infrastructure investor IFM is seen as favourite to win the auction after Ryanair withdrew from contention.

However, a number of suitors are reportedly lined up to buy the UK's fourth largest airport for an expected £1 billion, including interests from Asia, Canada and Australiasia, the Sunday Times reported. Meanwhile, the BAA brand is to disappear as the group moves to dispose of Stansted following the sale of Gatwick and Edinburgh airports.

The company will adopt the Heathrow name as the London hub will account for the majority of the business once Stansted is sold. "The change is part of a process to cease using the BAA brand for a number of reasons, including the fact that practically BAA is no longer a group as Heathrow will account for more than 95% of the business once Stansted is sold," the company said this morning.

"As a result, whilst each individual airport within the former BAA group will retain its brand and legal entity name, many of the holding companies within the group will assume the Heathrow brand."

Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews said: "We are a different company today from when BAA was formed. Over the last few years we have sold our stakes in Gatwick, Edinburgh, Budapest and Naples airports and we are in the process of selling Stansted. The BAA name no longer fits. We do not represent all British airports; we are not a public authority; and practically speaking the company is no longer a group as Heathrow will account for more than 95% of the business."

"Dropping the BAA name marks a symbolic break with the company of the past. We want Heathrow's focus to be on its customers, to continue to improve its operational performance and to carry on investing billions of pounds in new passenger facilities. This summer, the Olympics and Paralympics showed the UK and Heathrow at their best, delivering a welcome of which the UK could be proud. Now we have to build on that welcome still further, providing a better experience to our customers every single day."

The company is starting the process of replacing the BAA name with each individual airport brand.


The owner of Manchester Airport will make a bid
to buy Stansted Airport, it has confirmed.

BBC News - 17 October 2012

Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which also owns East Midlands and Bournemouth airports, will team up with Industry Funds Management (IFM) to make the bid.

BAA decided to sell Stansted in the summer following a legal battle with the Competition Commission. It had been fighting a ruling that it must sell because of the lack of competition between London airports.

MAG is currently owned by the 10 council authorities of Greater Manchester - the largest stakeholder being Manchester City Council, which owns 55%. If the deal went ahead, IFM would take a 35% stake in the group.

'Proven track record'

Chief executive Charlie Cornish said: "Together with IFM, we can confirm that we will make a bid for Stansted Airport. Having conducted a strategic review of the group, we believe its addition to MAG will generate shareholder value in combination with our existing airports in the North, South West and Midlands markets. MAG has a proven track record in running profitable, growing airports through its successful approach to customer service, retail, car parking, property management and aviation development which would benefit passengers in the South East."

The Spanish-owned BAA owned seven UK airports, carrying 60% of all UK air passengers, when the Competition Commission inquiry began five years ago. It had been told to sell Gatwick, Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports - but fought against the Stansted decision. In August it decided not to take the case further and challenge the ruling in the Supreme Court.


Nick Ames - Your Canterbury - 10 October 2012

Reports have emerged that Manston Airport owner, Infratil is part of a consortium preparing a bid for Stansted Airport - even as it tries to sell the Thanet facility.

Reports from New Zealand, where the company is based, have indicated Infratil is part of a group involving the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, which has formed "a bid team" to buy the Essex airport, which competition regulators have ordered its Spanish owners to sell. But Steve Fitzgerald who runs Infratil's airports business, from its management company Morrison & Co, said nothing had been formalized and played down the speculation. "There's not a process started and we've made no commitment to it," he said.

Fitzgerald also dismissed industry suggestions Infratil had signed a confidentiality agreement to gain access to Stansted's books. He said "At Morrison & Co we look at all airport transactions globally, to see whether any of them might fit the investment criteria."

Spanish company Ferrovial bought control of British Airports Authority in 2006, but was ordered by competition authorities to sell Gatwick, Stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow. A spokesman for BAA said: "We have no comment to make on the sell off or any potential bidders."


Ryanair has decided that it will not take a stake in Stansted
when the airport is sold by current owner BAA

Rob Gill - Abtn Online - 9 October 2012

The no-frills airline had been in talks with potential investors about taking a minority shareholding in the Essex airport, which BAA is being forced to sell by the Competition Commission.

But Ryanair said today (October 9) it would not continue with these discussions about taking part in a consortium bid as it claimed that BAA's owner Ferrovial would not allow the airline to take part in the sale process.

Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said: "We regret Ferrovial's decision to exclude Ryanair from the Stansted sale process and the failure of the Competition Commission to restrain this anti-competitive and anti-customer behaviour by Ferrovial."

The airline added that it would "continue to explore the rapid traffic growth opportunities it believes are available at Stansted" when the airport is under new ownership. "This year's continuing traffic decline underlines the extraordinary damage done to Stansted airlines and passengers by the Ferrovial/BAA airport monopoly and we look forward to discussing cost reductions and traffic growth with the new owners of Stansted when it is finally sold," added McNamara.


Potential bidders for Stansted have been warned
not to be "ripped off" by owner BAA

Travel Weekly - 22 October 2012

Ahead of tomorrow's (Tuesday's) opening bids deadline, Ryanair claimed that the underlying non-inflated regulated asset base (RAB) at Stansted including airfields, terminal buildings and plant, amounts to £640 million, around half of Stansted's valuation of around £1.3 billion. This follows a report last week suggesting that anyone else could run Stansted for £5 million less per year.

Ryanair, the airport's largest carrier handling almost 70% of traffic, withdrew from the Stansted sale process earlier this month, claiming it had been advised by BAA parent Ferrovial that it would be excluded. Ryanair is not participating in the sale and is not seeking a minority stake, but will continue to explore the traffic growth opportunities it believes are available at Stansted, the airline said.

But it will only do this "if and when the new owner of Stansted reverses the doubling of prices" imposed in 2007. This led to a 25% decline in traffic at Stansted from 23.8 million passengers in 2007, to 18 million last year, the carrier claimed.

A Ryanair spokesman said: "Traffic at Stansted continues to decline (down another 4% in September) because the inadequate CAA regulatory regime has allowed the BAA/Ferrovial monopoly to double airport charges and inflate its RAB, while other non-regulated UK airports depreciate their assets and lower charges to stimulate traffic growth. Stansted can return to growth, but only when it is regulated effectively, which will require its passenger charges and its inflated RAB to be halved, thereby eliminating the effect the of BAA's regulatory gaming in recent years."


BAA, the owners of Stansted, have made the unusual admission
that anyone else could run the airport for at least £5m a year less

Alistair Osborne - Daily Telegraph - 14 October 2012

The figure is disclosed in the "information memorandum" sent to bidders for the Essex airport, which was put on the block for around £1bn in August after BAA lost a three-year legal fight with the Competition Commission over a forced disposal. The sale process is being led by BAA's major shareholder, Ferrovial, with advice from Deutsche Bank and ING. First-round bids are due next week.

The document, aimed at drumming up the best possible price, claims that simply freeing Stansted from BAA's ownership will produce immediate savings due to lower management costs. Stansted had £141.5m operating costs in its most recent year. "It's bizarre," said one City source. "In order to bump up the price, BAA's owners are now saying? 'we're so poor, you'll be able to run it £5m a year cheaper'."

The figure is also likely to be seized on by Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary as confirmation that BAA is not only an inefficient operator, but has been artificially inflating Stansted's cost base by lumping in expenses from its other four airports - Heathrow, Southampton, Glasgow and Aberdeen. As Stansted is a regulated airport, a higher cost base can lead to higher landing charges - as long as the regulator accepts the figures.

Ryanair is responsible for 70pc of Stansted's traffic and Mr O'Leary has already claimed that Stansted's regulatory accounts are "completely artificial" and straight out of "Noddy land".

The document handed to bidders also forecasts that a new owner of Stansted would do a much better job of increasing both passenger volumes and earnings. Passenger traffic has declined from a peak of 23.8m in 2007 to an expected 17.1m this year - hit by Ryanair's decision to divert flights to other airports in protest at the landing charges. However, the document forecasts that volumes will bounce back to 24.6m by 2019.

Meanwhile earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, which are down from £117m in 2008 to an estimated £87.3m this year, are forecast to rise to £201m.

Bidders are known to include Manchester Airports Group, which is being backed by Australia's Industry Funds Management, and a consortium led by Australasian investment manager Morrison & Co. That group also includes the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Infratil, a Wellington-based infrastructure investor.

There is also thought to be some early interest from Citi Infrastructure Partners, Macquarie and Deutsche Bank's infrastructure arm, RREEF. Morgan Stanley Infrastructure, JP Morgan and Li Ka-Shing's CKI have also been touted as possible bidders.

Last week Ryanair accused Ferrovial of excluding it from the Stansted sale process in a move it deemed "anti-competitive". A BAA spokesman said: "We are not going to comment on the process."


London Mayor Boris Johnson would consider expanding Stansted Airport
into a new hub for London rather than building a new gateway in the
Thames Estuary, his advisor on aviation has said.

Oliver Clark - Routes News - 19 October 2012

Daniel Moylan said that while the Mayor still favours building a new hub to the east of London, he would consider extending Stansted to solve London's capacity crisis because of its excellent rail links.

Speaking at the Invest and Manage conference in London, Moylan said Stansted could be linked with fast rail connections to Stratford and tie in with HS1 and even the proposed HS2 project. "Boris would like a destination [for the new airport] to the east but he is open to debate," said Moylan.

Commenting on the potential of Gatwick Airport as an alternative hub, Moylan said it was physically on the wrong side of London to connect to rail links with northern England. Heathrow 'reduced in size'

Moylan said rather than continuing to invest in Heathrow Airport which is "money down the drain" it should be downsized to one runway and turned into a point to point airport serving premium and leisure passengers in West London. Moylan said the argument for a new airport in the Thames Estuary offered many advantages, including a new connection between Kent and Essex which would foster new trade links.

He said that at least a portion of the costs of constructing a new airport would have to come "from general taxation". "I have never said this is easy but I have never heard a killer argument for not developing an Estuary airport." Moylan added.


CAMPAIGNERS have branded Boris Johnson a "bonkeramus"
for suggesting Stansted Airport should be expanded

Essex Chronicle - 16 October 2012

In a speech to business leaders last week, the Mayor or London again rejected calls for another runway at Heathrow and instead called for a new four-runway airport in the Thames Estuary or for capacity at Stansted to be ramped up.

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) campaigners said he was a "bonkeramus", mimicking Mr Johnson's inclination to create new words after describing plans to expand Heathrow as a "fudgerama". SSE economics adviser Brian Ross, whose organisation has successfully fought off plans for a second runway, said: "Boris is fond of inventing new words and we're sure that, with his expertise in Latin, he'll understand that bonkeramus means 'a bonkers idea put forward by an ignoramus'. The Mayor of London has neither the knowledge nor the authority to pronounce on airports policy for the east of England. He should stick to running buses and bicycles in London."

Mr Johnson's intervention came less than a month after the Government announced it would set up an independent commission, led by Sir Howard Davies, to identify and recommend options for keeping the UK as an international hub for aviation. The Davies Commission will produce an interim report by the end of next year and a final report by the summer of 2015.

Mr Johnson said: "My message is, number one, forget about a new runway at Heathrow. Number two, look at the viable alternatives." But Mr Ross said: "We will not stand idly by if he tries to appease his West London voters at our expense with an 'anywhere but Heathrow' policy."

Stansted Airport currently sits a distant fourth behind Gatwick and Heathrow in passenger numbers after it was overtaken by Manchester as Britain's third-busiest airport. BAA has recently been ordered to sell Stansted on competition grounds.


Herts & Essex Observer - 18 October 2012

According to a report in the Architects Journal, National and London Planning Forum chairman Brian Waters and transport consultant Michael Schabas, who helped develop the Jubilee Line Underground extension, "have unveiled a 'near-term' vision to tackle congestion".

Their proposal would see a new £3bn Crossrail spur connecting Heathrow, the City of London and the corporate centre of Canary Wharf to Stansted - which they suggest has room for three runways.

Currently under construction, Crossrail will link 37 stations in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex and Kent via Greater London. The 118km (73.3-mile) railway is set to open in 2018. It is estimated the initiative - the biggest construction project in Europe - will bring an extra 1.5m people within a 45-minute commute of the capital's business districts.

Architects Journal quotes Rob Naybour, of architect Weston Williamson, as saying: "Residents of Bishop's Stortford may not be in favour, but it would take decades to come to fruition so they would have plenty of time to move."

Although Stansted bosses ditched plans for a second runway two years ago, when all three main political parties made a General Election manifesto commitment to veto any new runways in the South East during the term of the current Parliament, expansion is back at the top of the political agenda, thanks to Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

The Tory maverick has been vociferous, calling for an increase in the region's aviation capacity and backing either a new airport in the Thames Estuary or the creation of a "super-Stansted" to act as the UK's main hub instead of Heathrow. The Government has recently launched an independent commission to examine the issue, chaired by Howard Davies.


A radical proposal to extend Crossrail to Stansted and enlarge the
airport to create a new UK air travel hub in Essex has been revealed

Merlin Fulcher - Architects Journal - 17 October 2012

A radical proposal to extend Crossrail to Stansted and enlarge the airport to create a new UK air travel hub in Essex has been revealed. Just weeks after the government launched an independent commission into the country's aviation capacity chaired by Howard Davies, London planning expert Brian Waters and transport consultancy guru Michael Schabas have unveiled a 'near-term' vision to tackle congestion.

Waters chairs the National and London Planning Forum while Schabas played a key role in the development of the Jubilee Line Extension when vice president Transport of Canary Wharf Developments (see also Planning in London). The scheme is the latest proposed solution to south east England's airport shortfall, which so far includes Norman Foster?s £50 billion Thames Airport and a floating airstrip by Gensler.

The proposal features a new £3 billion Crossrail spur linking Heathrow, the City and Canary Wharf to the Foster-designed 1991 airport which they claim has room for three new runways. Although plans for a new Stansted runway were withdrawn two years ago, a new owner could revive the expansion. Earlier this month London mayor Boris Johnson said a Thames hub or expanded Stansted were London's best options.

Terry Farrell, who criticised Foster's proposal to redevelop Heathrow and create a new Thames Estuary airport, said Waters and Schabas' scheme possessed 'considerable merit'.

Weston Williamson's Rob Naybour was also supportive, suggesting it would be "relatively straightforward" to extend the rail line. "Residents of Bishop's Stortford may not be in favour but it would take decades to come to fruition so they would have plenty of time to move," he said.

But HOK aviation and transportation director Richard Gammon said overseas competitors were already benefitting from the UK's "slow response" to the capacity shortage and called on the government to act "decisively" to support growth in the "UK's only true international hub" at Heathrow.

Chris Bennie, principal director at TP Bennett, said environmental, political and population density factors meant expanding Heathrow or Gatwick would be 'stop-gaps' solutions at best. Stansted's advantage over the Thames Estuary proposal, he added, was the fact it already existed and appeared to possess no physical or technical barriers to expansion. While a "blank canvas", the Thames Estuary scheme included "cost, programme and deliverability" unknowns and would require a full environmental impact assessment. "None of which bodes well for an early delivery," he said.


Evening Standard - 18 October 2012

BAA will step up its campaign for a third runway at Heathrow by calling on the Government to reconsider the terms of its inquiry into the aviation crisis. A report commissioned by BAA to be published this month will urge Sir Howard Davies to rule out two options touted as a solution to the South-East's crowded skies.

It is expected to demand that the interim Davies report to be published next year rules out a "split hub" proposal of a new express rail line linking Heathrow and Gatwick - the "Heathwick" solution. Also unworkable, the report will say, is a "split" hub of Heathrow and Stansted.

BAA believes these two options should be ruled out well in advance to focus on more realistic solutions before the Davies commission's final report in 2015.


BBC News - 13 October 2012

A third runway at Heathrow would lead to significantly more early deaths from pollution than a new airport built in the Thames Estuary, a study warns.

The research, funded by US university MIT, suggests Heathrow pollution causes about 50 early deaths a year and this figure is rising sharply. That figure would climb to 150 with a third runway, the study estimates.

If Heathrow closed and an airport was built in the Thames Estuary, there would be 50 deaths annually, it said. BBC technology reporter Theo Leggett said the reasoning was that pollution from Heathrow was frequently blown over densely-populated areas, whereas a large proportion of emissions from an estuary airport would be carried out to sea.

Increases predicted by the study's researchers for a third runway at Heathrow would be partly offset by a reduction in flights from other airports, he said. Aviation experts say the study does not give the full picture because passengers would need to travel to a more remote airport, and that could also cause pollution.

Ministers insist that any decision on airport expansion will take account of environmental and social impacts.

'Boris Island'

Nic Ferriday, from campaign group AirportWatch, has warned there will be a significant number of deaths from air pollution with both options. "The study does match up quite well with a study that was actually done for the Greater London Authority that showed 4,000 people per year dying from air pollution," he told BBC Radio 5 live. "Those are very large figures. That sort of death toll ought to be a really significant issue for this government."

Last month, the government launched a review of how the UK might expand its airport capacity in the South East amid suggestions the prime minister would perform a U-turn on his pledge not to build a third runway at Heathrow. London Mayor Boris Johnson, meanwhile, has backed the concept of a Thames island airport, with one of three plans unveiled dubbed "Boris Island". Some financial analysts say the Thames Estuary project would only be financially viable if Heathrow was closed down.


BBC News - 16 October 2012

Plans to build more runways at Heathrow and Gatwick airports have been rejected by Surrey County Council amid concerns about the impact on the environment.

The Conservative-led body also opposed more traffic at other Surrey airports due to the adverse impact on residents. It will write to the transport secretary to say it is against airport expansion. The government began a review last month of how the UK might expand capacity in the South East.

'Precious countryside'

In a statement after a council meeting on Tuesday, Lib Dem county councillor Ian Beardsmore said: "The airports surrounding Surrey are essential for the Surrey economy. Many of my own residents in Sunbury Common and Ashford Common are reliant on the airport for their employment. But the airports have reached their limit. Alternatives must be found if there is to be any increase in UK airport capacity."

Opposition leader Hazel Watson said increased capacity at Gatwick would lead to the loss of "precious countryside" and "irreplaceable historic buildings".

Council leader David Hodge said it opposed any plans to build additional runways "out of line with the existing county council policy". He pointed out that the council had a policy agreed in March 2008 opposing expansion unless there was "comprehensive and creditable investment" satisfactorily addressing environmental issues.

The council agreed to write to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to request alternatives to expansion in the South East.

Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats ruled out a third runway at Heathrow in their 2010 general election manifestos and the coalition agreement continued this commitment. But some MPs argue that increased airport capacity is needed to help bring the UK out of recession.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, who favours building a new airport east of London, has accused the government of "pussyfooting around" on airport expansion.


Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) Press Release - 17 October 2012

Gatwick Airport Ltd have put out a press release to say that they will be examining the options for a new runway at Gatwick. In response, Brendon Sewill, chairman of GACC, said: "We have always been totally opposed to a new runway on environmental grounds, and have had massive support from across Surrey, Sussex and west Kent. We have been supported by all the local MPs and all the County, District and Parish Councils in a wide area. If necessary, we will resume the battle."

"In fact all the options for a new runway have been examined many times before (1953, 1970, 1993 and 2003) and have always been found impracticable. The line of the runway shown in the 2012 Master Plan (as referred to in the GAL press release, and for which land is at present safeguarded) is too close to the existing runway to allow a new terminal and space for aircraft to manoeuvre on the ground. That was the view of British Airways. There is high ground at the western end and the main railway line at the eastern end, so the runway would have to be short. The runway would be only a few hundred yards north of Crawley residential areas."

"More generally the expansion of aviation is largely due to the fact that aviation fuel is untaxed and air tickets are not subject to VAT (air passenger duty is small by comparison). And the sort of expansion which would require new runways would be ruled out by the UK's climate change targets. So we are doubtful whether any new runway will be required in the South East."

"GAL have said they wish to sell Gatwick in around 2018, so they obviously wish to keep the price up by keeping the runway issue open. But if there were any serious plan for a new runway, GACC would mount a massive campaign of opposition."


Daniel Barden - Saffron Walden Reporter - 15 October 2012

ARMED with power tools as well as more traditional gardening implements, a posse of Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) supporters turned out on Sunday to tackle the autumn tidy up of the SSE Wood at Broxted Hill. More than a dozen volunteers cleared undergrowth and weed from around tree bases and removed some of the now-redundant plastic tree guards in the first of two sessions to be held this season.

The SSE Wood was inaugurated in 2004 when the campaign group's patron, Terry Waite, planted an oak tree on the site then proposed for a second runway. A further 500 trees were planted later that year including maple, oak, hornbeam, hazel, hawthorn, blackthorn, ash and crab apple.

"The wood was intended to reflect the determination and resolve of local people to see children and trees alike flourish and reach maturity rather than be uprooted from their homes to make way for an expanded Stansted Airport," said campaign director Carol Barbone.

"It remains a symbol of the fierce determination of the community to oppose major growth at the airport, not least in the context of the latest calls for a 'Super Stansted' with four runways."

The Woodland Trust has provided guidance and support over the years and the wood also has the endorsement of the Tree Council.

The Aviation Debate - More opinions, Much imagination, Few facts!


There is widespread agreement that London needs
more flight capacity, but little consensus on the options.

Mark Leftly and Lucy Tobin - The Independent - 21 October 2012

The row over airports expansion in the South-east has produced very little that is tangible, bar the invention of a rather marvellous word to describe Boris Johnson: "bonkeramus". Mocking the London Mayor's predilection for making up words on the spot, the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign coined the term to show just how unimpressed they were with his belief that the Essex airport could be replaced by a massive four-runway hub.

The campaign's economic adviser, Brian Ross, says Johnson's expertise in Latin should mean he is well aware that the phrase means "a bonkers idea put forward by an ignoramus". For good measure, Ross added that Johnson should stick to running buses and bicycles.

Whether it's a crazy idea or not, Johnson has manoeuvred himself squarely into the centre of the debate, primarily pushing for his preferred plan for a floating hub in the Thames Estuary waters. What he is truly opposed to is a third runway at Heathrow, even though business leaders and major airlines want extra capacity to ensure that the west London site remains one of the world's foremost airports.

Prime Minister David Cameron has played a blinder politically by ordering both a Department for Transport consultation and an inquiry, headed by former Audit Commission chairman Sir Howard Davies, into the issue. That ensures that there will be no answer this side of a general election, which means that Cameron won't lose votes in Conservative heartlands where residents don't want any more noisy aircraft flying low over their houses.

However, this hasn't stopped more and more options being announced by their zealous supporters, the most realistic of which are illustrated above. There are others, such as expanding Birmingham airport and transferring short-haul flights from Heathrow to RAF Northolt in Middlesex.

On Wednesday, the chief executive of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, spoke of the "catastrophic situation" for the British economy. He argued that London and the South-east can't wait the 20 or more years it would take to build a new airport and needs to focus on the most expedient option, which he believes is a third Heathrow runway.

If nothing is done, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted will be at capacity by 2030. A report by a think-tank, the Policy Exchange, says that the capital desperately needs a four-runway hub if it wants to compete with European rivals in Amsterdam and Frankfurt. This notion of a "hub" is key. It's the passengers who transfer at Heathrow that brings in so much money and Dubai, which is in such close reach of six time zones, is threatening to overtake it as the world's busiest international airport.

Tony Douglas, the former chief executive of Heathrow who today is overseeing the $7.2bn (£4.5bn) Khalifa Port complex in Abu Dhabi, says that most of the interested parties are looking at the issue from the wrong angle. "If you really wanted to, you could build a platform on stilts over London and land aeroplanes there," he chuckles, arguing that the point is that there first needs to be agreement over why an airport is required and what the actual needs of the economy are. Only then can the options be properly assessed.

However, The Independent on Sunday has taken a stab at evaluating the possibilities of five of the most promising options ever being built. The judgement suggests that Boris Island probably isn't a flyer, while expansion at Gatwick and Stansted is likely, but far from a solution.

The secretive nature of the work being undertaken by a business consortium, now known to include British Airways and BAA veterans, to build a new four-runway hub in Oxfordshire means that it remains the wildcard. However, given the short-term needs of the economy, an awful lot of evidence points to a third runway at Heathrow one day being approved.

Stansted, Essex
As it stands BAA is selling the low-cost airlines' favourite airport
Plan A £3bn Crossrail link, which could help facilitate two extra runways, or Johnson's idea for a replacement four-runway hub
Pros Political support - New owners will endorse more runways - Plenty of room for expansion
Cons Without Crossrail, Stansted has the poorest rail connections of the options - Cost for four runways has been estimated at £80bn - BA and others will object to moving operations so far east
Out of the hangar: 4/5

Thames Estuary
As it stands Some form of 'Boris Island' has been mooted since the 1970s
Plan There are two: Lord Foster's four-runway idea and Johnson's superhub near Whitstable
Pros Huge economic benefits for a region relatively untouched by the benefits of aviation - Scope for flights to run through the night - High speed link would mean a 20-minute journey into London
Cons Unclear where the £40bn funding would come from - Aircraft would run into London's other airports' flightpaths - Big business doesn't want to relocate from west London
Out of the hangar: 1/5

As it stands Britain's second busiest airport
Plan A second runway that could double capacity from 34m passengers-a-year to 70m
Pros Much cheaper than building an entire new airport - Would allow more spare time to be built into take-off and landing schedules, so avoiding airport closures - Jobs: Gatwick generates about 23,000 airport jobs and 13,000 through related activities
Cons Would still only be a point-to-point rather than hub airport - Surrey, Sussex and west Kent residents will campaign against - A long-standing agreement means work can't commence until 2019
Out of the hangar: 3/5

As it stands BAA and BA veterans are working on plans for a £60bn four-runway hub
Plan Initially would complement Heathrow but eventually replace it
Pros Would be 30 minutes to London by high speed rail - Has already attracted interest from potential Chinese backers - Brief claims it would avoid flight path over built-up areas
Cons Backers yet to be revealed - Depends on High Speed Two - Would provoke countryside campaigners
Out of the hangar: 2/5

As it stands The world's biggest international airport and third biggest by total passenger numbers
Plan A third runway would focus solely on short-haul flights
Pros BAA would easily get the £10bn funding in place - Would appease large FTSE companies that have businesses close to Heathrow - Economic benefits to UK of £30bn, according to the CBI
Cons Political opposition is huge - and residents are in key Conservative constituencies - No room for a fourth runway, which will be vital as other hubs continue to grow - Academic claims extra runway would treble pollution deaths
Out of the hangar: 4/5


Robert Watts, Deputy Political Editor - The Daily Telegraph - 21 October 2012

Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, has thrown his weight behind plans for a new "Heathwick" airport hub, featuring a new high-speed rail-link between Heathrow and Gatwick airport.

With pressure growing on Ministers to address the "capacity crunch" in Britain's skies, Mr Hammond said merely expanding Heathrow was a "sticking plaster" solution. The minister, whose constituency is close to the West London airport, warned that there would be strong opposition to building a third runway at Heathrow and that doing so would require current flight paths across south east England to be redrawn.

"People who live in the south east and have no disturbance at the moment may find they are affected if a third runway is built," said Mr Hammond, who served as the Coalition's Transport Secretary until a year ago.

The Defence Secretary also attacked plans for a new airport in the Thames estuary, a project widely known as "Boris Island" because one of its most vocal champions is the London Mayor, Boris Johnson. Mr Hammond warned that such a project would be very expensive and require closing Heathrow, which he believes would "destroy" the economies of West London, the Thames Valley, and the Surrey-Sussex corridor. "That would be a complete disaster," he said.

"I have long thought the answer is one hub across two sites, with a fast shuttle service between Heathrow and Gatwick," Mr Hammond added.

Experts believe it would cost in the region of £5billion to link the two airports, with a high-speed train that could take about 15 minutes. Mr Hammond thinks that the distance between the sites could be cut to as little as 10 minutes by the most advanced high-speed trains.

The Department for Transport has previously looked at a shuttle service between Heathrow and Gatwick that would initially run parallel with the M25, before disappearing into tunnels en route to Gatwick.

Mr Hammond's intervention comes just days after London's mayor threatened to launch legal action against the Government in a bid to speed up airport expansion. Over the summer David Cameron appointed Sir Howard Davies, the economist, to lead a commission into whether Britain should increase the capacity of its airports. However, the economist is not due to publish his final report until 2015.

Many businesses are pleading for the Prime Minister to make a decision now to make it easier for British firms to gain better access to China and other fast-growing economies. Although many experts say there is more space to expand Gatwick, there is a legal lock on increasing the size of this airport until 2019.


Gwyn Topham, Transport Correspondent, and Kate Connolly in Berlin - The Guardian - 21 October 2012

As protesters gather in Frankfurt, British group rejects industry argument that lack of action will lead to expansion abroad.

Anti-aviation campaigners have challenged the "myth" that Britain is alone in curbing airport expansion plans, as thousands of demonstrators converged on Frankfurt airport on Sunday to protest against the effects of its new runway.

The aviation industry has consistently warned that a lack of hub airport capacity in the south-east of England means European competitors will take trade away from the UK. According to polling for the Airport Operators' Association, 73% of business leaders believe the government needs to do more to back aviation.

The government is in the process of setting up a commission, to be chaired by Sir Howard Davies, to examine whether additional capacity is needed - with options including a third runway at Heathrow or a brand new hub airport. Heathrow directors have said the growing, multi-runway airports of France, Holland and Germany are "eating our lunch". However, campaigners say there is also widespread opposition in Europe that is restraining development.

John Stewart, of Airport Watch, said: "What we continually hear from people who want to expand Heathrow is that if we don't build here, expansion will automatically take place elsewhere in Europe." Instead, he said, a network of increasingly informed and organised campaigners was putting a brake on growth.

In Frankfurt, police estimated that 4,000 protesters gathered to mark the first anniversary of the airport's fourth runway, which campaigners say has raised noise levels in southern Frankfurt. The airport is increasing its flight numbers from 490,000 to 700,000 a year, and its passenger numbers from 56 million to more than 90 million. At weekly gatherings inside the terminals, protesters make as much noise as possible with football rattles and pots and pans.

The protesters' overarching battle cry is that "the runway must go", but first they want a two-hour extension of the 11pm-5am flight ban, and a ban on all flights to and from destinations reachable by train in four hours or less. "We consider that to be a reasonable demand," said Ingrid Kopp, spokeswoman for the protest movement. The issue could determine the outcome of elections in the state of Hesse.

Munich, where a planned third runway was defeated in a referendum this year, and Berlin, where the opening of the vast Willy Brandt airport has been delayed by a series of spectacular organisational failures, have also become the focus of the growing anti-expansion campaign. Leipzig/Halle, Cologne/Bonn and Düsseldorf have also attracted protests over noise pollution caused by night flights.

Italian campaigners have overturned planned airports in Siena and outside Rome, and in France a combination of local farmers' protests and environmental groups has blocked a proposed new airport in Nantes.

In Britain, Gatwick has been trying to tread softly with local opposition before last week saying it wanted a second runway to compete with Heathrow. Brendon Sewill, chairman of the Gatwick area conservation campaign, said any new runway would be a step change that would make it impossible to limit growth. Unlike at Heathrow, more fields than houses stand in the direct path of potential bulldozers, although about 17 listed buildings would be destroyed or made uninhabitable by the runway, and noise levels would rise in neighbouring Crawley. Sewill said campaigners also feared the increased roadbuilding, construction and urbanisation that would follow a bigger airport.

Sewill, 83, was at the opening of the Beehive, Gatwick's original terminal, as a seven-year-old in 1936. A decade ago he fought proposals for expansion to the north that would have left his village of Charlwood - home to a Norman church with wall paintings and yew trees dating back almost a millennium - effectively squeezed between the two runways. Only a church survives from the village of Lowfield Heath, on the current southern edge, razed in 1973 as uninhabitable and now an industrial park. "A dreadful warning to the rest of us," said Sewill.

In the 1950s his parents were part of a defeated campaign to stop Gatwick developing, purportedly as a bad weather back-up to Heathrow. Subsequent growth meant the council insisted on a long-term agreement to build no second runway when granting Gatwick permission to build a new terminal two decades later. That agreement runs out in 2019. Sewill said he expected to hand over to a new generation of activists before plans come to a head. Gatwick has installed some new razor wire on the perimeter fence. "They put it there to stop Plane Stupid getting in." But, he smiled: "I hear they have good wirecutters."

Future clashes seem increasingly likely, with the aviation industry and business adamant that expansion must occur, and the Davies commission unable to defer a decision indefinitely. But Stewart said a "sea of protest" across Europe was set to meet it. "Given the opposition, the safest assumption is that airport capacity in western Europe will remain much as it is now over the coming decades," he said.


Chiefofficers Online - AirTravelReports - 22 October 2012

The UK media is being fed a steady diet of stories about how essential a third runway at London's Heathrow Airport is for the country as a whole and the airline industry in general. But the PR campaign - which is not necessarily centrally co-ordinated and may be little more than bandwaggoning by interested parties - misses something important. London doesn't need more airport capacity: it needs strategically placed railways.

This newspaper has an opinion. London's Heathrow Airport (LHR) did not need Terminal 5 and it does not need a third runway. Furthermore, London does not need another airport. London has sufficient capacity for all its needs and the UK as a whole has excess capacity. The problem is not with capacity, nor even where it is, but with the lack of an effective infrastructure to connect the existing capacity.

The problem that doesn't need solving is that airlines want to use Heathrow for its perceived value a) as the national airport and b) as a hub. Neither is a valid argument for London airports are unlike those of any other city.

London is ringed by airports: in addition to Heathrow, there are Gatwick and Stansted, both of which operate at far below capacity. Stansted is the better choice for travellers visiting the east coast of England. London is a strange creature: it has three hearts: the west end, the City and Docklands - the latter two are the commercial districts; the former is the tourist area. Heathrow serves the tourist area with motorways and both overland and underground trains. Gatwick serves, with trains, the border between the tourist and commercial districts (and provides direct access to the primary legal district) and Stansted, with excellent road and rail connections, serves the commercial districts. But major airlines don't want to land at Stansted or Gatwick so their business class passengers travelling for business reasons are disadvantaged.

Ironically, many business travellers prefer to fly into a European airport such as Schipol and take a commuter flight to another London airport - London City, which is right in the heart of the Docklands area and has recently been connected (albeit indirectly) to the tube network.

Considering, for a moment, only LHR and Gatwick (LGW), they have the potential to be joined up into a single operating unit only 20 minutes apart. That is less than the time it presently takes to get between Terminals 4 and 5 at LHR. The infrastructure to connect LHR and LGW is almost in place - and the knowledge, skills and technology is more readily available in the UK than in almost any other country in the world.

The recently completed High Speed Rail link from St Pancras in the heart of London to Dover has been a triumph. On time, on budget and with tunnelling to tolerances of less than 5mm in clay and chalk has demonstrated that a mix of overland and underground railway tracks can be cost effective, can be environmentally sound and can move people, on a point to point basis, with great speed. Trains can be run between LHR and LGW on shared tracks with boarding and alighting in two places at each end - one airside (i.e. people and luggage stay within the customs and immigration controlled area) and one landside (i.e. for those who are outside the customs and immigration controlled area).

The system can be extended, easily and cheaply, to Stansted, running alongside the M25 where there is an existing zone with almost no housing or other buildings), again including both "cleared" and "uncleared" people, luggage and - importantly - freight. This option, which this newspaper has long advocated, is at last on the Government's agenda. Philip Hammond is the Defence Secretary, not in the transport ministry. But he did served in the Ministry of Transport (renamed The Department of Transport under one or other of the regular "modernisation of government" plans of recent years) until a about a year ago. That break means he has not been recently bombarded with the scare stories about how a failure to build a third LHR runway will destroy the UK's economy (that is not, incredibly, overstating some of the comments that have been made). Over the weekend, Hammond has made the kind of brutal comments that are needed in the debate. Adding R3, he said, would be a "sticking plaster solution."

He says that the estimated cost of linking LHR and LGW would be around GBP5,000 million and he is more optimistic than this newspaper about journey times: he reckons as little as 15 minutes. But we think it should be much cheaper to construct between those two airports. The railway line we propose, from LGW via LHR to STN would give touchpoints at (using a clock-face view of London) 7, 9 and 1 o'clock. There is little need for tunnelling and there are no major rivers or areas of national (or even environmental) importance or beauty to avoid. It's quick, easy and effective. The other, widely disparaged, idea of a new airport in the Thames Estuary is, on many levels such a non-starter that it is disturbingly gaining credence. And part of the plan is to scrap LHR entirely. That's not so much pie in the sky as a crazy plan.

For many travellers who do not actually need to be in London, some are now using regional airports and connecting via European airports such as Amsterdam and Frankfurt. In part, those travelling with hand-luggage only are doing this to avoid the UK's punitive exit tax which is significantly lower on intra EU flights than on long haul. A couple of hours transit time - especially if it's possible to hold a meeting in the airport hotel in transit - can result in very substantial savings, especially for frequent business class travellers.

LHR wants to consider itself a case of special importance. This weekend its CEO, Colin Matthews, said that it had taken Aeromexico four years to get a slot at Heathrow. He is quoted by The Telegraph as arguing "Britain is being held back economically by the Government's inertia on airport expansion." He is supported by Akbar ll Baker, CEO of Gulf Airways. Recently, he told a conference of media and aviation industry personnel in London: "Already heading towards a double dip recession, the UK cannot afford to lose out on the huge benefits a third runway would bring to the economy in south east England and the country as a whole through the creation of more jobs and more business opportunities." He has a vested interest: Qatar Airways is to introduce a Boeing 787 service into London and there's the old problem that LHR as the reputation of being London's premier airport and therefore landing at LGW or STN is seen as somewhat infra dig. al Bakar has another ulterior motive: Qatar Airways has just joined the OneWorld loyalty scheme which links it with British Airways, Iberia and American - all of which have their UK bases at Heathrow.

An OpEd in London's Evening Standard (a localised edition of the Daily Mail) contains a very reasoned view of air travel. It argues for an effective hub system - bringing into what might be called the London Circle, Birmingham International. BHX is already capable of handling anything except the A380. But the Evening Standard article contains one vital argument so far missing from this piece: Lord Digby Jones, formerly chairman of the Confederation of British Industry, says "airlines and their passengers will need to be persuaded that the time to travel by train between the two is worth it, rather than walking around the corner at Schiphol or Frankfurt."

Schippol is a triumph of design, better, even, than Hong Kong, from a logistical point of view. It operates on a wheel and spoke system. Everywhere is more or less equidistant from everywhere else. But when reaches capacity, as it inevitably will, that design will make expansion difficult.

But Jones is right - delay is the worst option. The government needs to get off its bum and make a decision. And that decision should be to create a purpose-built fast railway from LHR to LGW. Two years work plus the time that will be wasted in planning and consultations. In that Jones was supported by al Baker who said "Measures to expand need to be taken soon to avoid a catastrophic situation in the future. The UK government cannot afford to immerse itself in long winded debate and public enquiries. Action needs to be taken."

Decide, design, deploy. And let's at last get down to business. It's the function of airports that's important - not ego for Heathrow or any airlines.

OUR COMMENT: Add: Before deciding or designing or deploying - Consult the communities concerned - And calculate the carbon. Are the proposed actions really necessary? Are they sustainable?

Pat Dale


Stansted: Anti-expansion campaigners brand
Boris Johnson's airport plans "bonkers"

Matt Gaw - EADT Online - 6 October 2012

CAMPAIGNERS have reminded Boris Johnson that he's the mayor of London, not East Anglia, after he suggested that a 24-hour four-runway hub should be developed at Stansted.

During a meeting with business leaders at City Hall, Mr Johnson openly criticised the government for delaying new runways and repeated his opposition to Heathrow expansion. The London mayor, who has previously been associated closely with proposals for an airport hub in the Thames estuary, also made it clear that he saw expansion of Stansted as the only other viable option.

But those fighting against the growth of the Essex airport described Mr Johnson's intervention as "nimbyism" and criticised him for meddling in issues outside his jurisdiction.

Speaking days before the Conservative conference, Mr Johnson said the government had been "bewitched" by lobbying from the owners BAA and said the prime minister already had abundant evidence to make a decision on new airport capacity in the south-east, rather than await the verdict of the Howard Davies commission set to report in 2015.

He said BAA's plans for a third Heathrow runway would mean "not only introducing further suffering to hundreds of thousands of Londoners but new suffering to thousands more. I say to BAA and BA, forget it. It will not be built. No mayor of London could conceivably accept it."

But Brian Ross, Stop Stansted Expansion's Economics Adviser, said: "Boris needs to remember that he is the mayor of London not of East Anglia. Stansted is not in his jurisdiction and he should not be interfering in something that is not his business."

Mr Ross, described Mr Johnson's proposal of a four-runway Stansted as "bonkers" and added: "If there was genuine market for an expansion at Stansted it would not be losing 1 million passengers a year."

Stansted currently lies a distant third behind Heathrow and Gatwick in terms of passenger numbers and was recently overtaken by Manchester as Britain's third-busiest airport. BAA, its owner, is being forced to sell Stansted on competition grounds.

Mr Ross said it was a "disgrace" that Mr Johnson was interfering in the lives of people who cannot vote for or against him. He added: "This is just a clear of case of nimbyism and what he is saying is creating uncertainty and fear in whole communities."


The Mayor criticised "dither"

Pippa Crerar, City Hall Editor - Channel 4 News - 4 October 2012

Boris Johnson intensified his row with the Government over a third runway at Heathrow today as it emerged for the first time that £30 billion of taxpayers' money would need to be spent on his Estuary airport.

In a major speech to business leaders, the Mayor accused the Government of "dither and delay" over formulating its aviation policy. In his strongest attack yet, he warned that future generations would believe the Coalition had "frittered away their futures" by delaying a decision until after the 2015 election.

His speech - in which he suggested the Government was "blind and complacent" - comes days after the Mayor was invited to Chequers by the Prime Minister for a "peace summit". Mr Johnson's team denied that today's remarks were intended to steal Mr Cameron's thunder at the Conservative party conference, which starts on Sunday. However, he will risk raising No 10's hackles by setting out the contents of his draft submission to the Government's aviation review now.

Mr Johnson told business leaders the Government's "glacial" progress was "far too slow", adding: "I am hugely concerned that their intended timetable sets a course for economic catastrophe. This is pressing and every moment we dither and delay, our rivals build their connectivity at our expense. The urgency of the problem has forced me to accelerate the work that I will do to develop a credible solution."

The Mayor admitted that it was "inevitable" that the bill for road and rail links from his proposed Thames Estuary airport would be picked up by the taxpayer - at a cost of £30 billion over 15 years. He believes a new airport, estimated to cost at least another £50 billion, could be financed entirely by the private sector.

Former Tory transport minister Steve Norris, who backs expansion of Stansted, said: "It's the first time I've heard the Mayor suggest that we might be looking at £30 billion... That, to be clear, is money we'd be expected to provide as taxpayers."


The UK needs a four-runway airport at either Heathrow or Luton
if it wants to compete with other European hubs such as Paris,
Frankfurt and Amsterdam, according to a report by a think tank

Channel 4 News - 5 October 2012

The best option would be four runways immediately west of the current Heathrow site in west London, the report from the right-leaning Policy Exchange said. A four-runway airport at Luton in Bedfordshire would be the next-best option.

The report did not rule out an extra, third runway at Heathrow but said Thames Estuary airport plans, as supported by London Mayor Boris Johnson and by architect Lord Foster, were not practical.

Policy Exchange said an estuary airport would be too difficult to get to for too many people and would present greater environmental and construction challenges than expansion at Heathrow.

Also ruled out were four-runway airports at Gatwick or Stansted. The report also called for a complete ban on the noisiest of aircraft at all times, a complete ban on night flights (between 11pm and 6.15am) and steeper landing angles to cut down on noise.

The report was written by Tim Leunig, chief economist at the liberal think tank CentreForum. He said today: "We can and should expand aviation capacity in south east England. Doing so will send a much needed signal to people that Britain is open for business. It is possible to expand Heathrow in such a way that it cements itself as Europe's number one hub, while significantly reducing the noise nuisance over west London."

"A four-runway airport would be straightforward to construct and relatively low cost by the standards of hub airports. It causes the lowest level of disruption to the wider economy of any likely airport expansion scenario."


You can't knock Daniel Moylan's can-do optimism. The man freshly
appointed by the Mayor of London to make the case for a new hub
airport east of London is warming to the task. But almost every remark
begs a fresh question.

Alistair Osborne, Business Editor - Daily Telegraph - 6 October 2012

"You look at me as if this is something that has never been achieved before, that every obstacle is a killer," he says. "You are raising obstacles in the wrong spirit." Moylan is used to that. Ever since his boss, Boris Johnson, championed a new offshore hub in the Thames Estuary, dubbed Boris Island, the critics have come out in force.

Where's the £50bn going to come from for that, they ask? And what happens to Heathrow? Or the 114,000 local jobs it supports? Or its owner, BAA, which will want hefty compensation, maybe £15bn or so?

Few have raised more objections than Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways-owner International Airlines Group, which is a worry given the new airport is a non-starter without BA - the carrier responsible for more than half of Heathrow's traffic. "The only way you'd make if financially successful is say you're going to build it and, as part of that, you're going to close Heathrow," Walsh said earlier this year, noting that otherwise "we're going to stay at Heathrow".

Moylan disagrees, dismissing Walsh as a "stuck in the mud". "I don't think Heathrow needs to close," he says. "I think Heathrow will have a future as a smaller point-to-point airport serving the West London and Home Counties premium leisure market - people going on holiday who don't want to fly from Luton at 3am."

Neither does he have any truck with Walsh's insistence that, given choice, BA would stay put. "It requires only an ounce of imagination and a pound of inducement and you will have BA in the new airport," he says. In the "right financial circumstances", BA would jump at the chance, he believes, to have a new airport "designed to a large extent around them".

How, though, do you get there? Articulating that is the challenge for Moylan, who stepped down last month as chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation dealing with the aftermath of the Olympics to focus on the Mayor's submission to the hub airport review being led by former Financial Services Authority chairman, Sir Howard Davies.

Moylan, who has already produced two airport studies for the Mayor, admits he started off "with a degree of scepticism" over whether Britain even needed a hub airport, where all the transfer passengers spend is the "price of a cup of tea". But now he thinks that's just "wrong". Like BA and BAA, he believes that by "getting all the passengers together in one place", you increase both the number of routes and frequency.

"The hub prospect is one that's attracted hundreds of millions of pounds of investment from people with their heads screwed on," says Moylan, citing those hubs at Dubai, Schiphol and Dallas Fort Worth. "When I first started working for Boris four years ago, everyone was talking about a world city. It's only when I got into aviation that I realised it does really mean something. You are one of those cities that is connected directly to the other world cities. It's like being on a fast conveyor belt. London needs to be part of that. We can't be a branch station at the end of a country line - not if we are going to attract the global headquarters and the high-quality jobs they bring."

That's why, he says, a third runway at Heathrow is a waste of money. "Heathrow can't be the four-plus runway airport the country needs. It's a constrained site - two and half runways max because the third would only be a short one. For that you've already got to demolish Sipson village. To make Heathrow any bigger you would have to start knocking serious amounts of property down."

Others beg to differ. Last week a report by Policy Exchange championed a four-runway airport at Heathrow, developed on land to the west of the present site. Moylan's alternative is the Mayor's £50bn hub in the east - which brings "regenerative advantages" - and his own plan for a "10 or 15-year transition" for Heathrow. "The economy does change and locations of jobs do change. It's not a zero-sum game. If you have more jobs in aviation to the east of London you won't necessarily have fewer to the west. We're not throwing tens of thousands of people out of their jobs overnight. We are talking about a growth sector and we want to facilitate that growth."

Stressing that similar transitions from old to new airports have been made in Munich, Thailand and Hong Kong, among others, Moylan outlines a "speculative" scenario. Broadly, it would involve shrinking Heathrow from today's 70 million passengers a year to around 20 million, redeveloping part of the airport and compensating BAA and some airlines for relocating the traffic. Proceeds from redevelopment and an interim hike in Heathrow's landing charges would go some way to funding the new hub, whose costs, says Moylan, are evenly split between "£25bn for building the new airport and £25bn for the road and rail links".

"If Heathrow were a smaller airport that could potentially operate with one runway and fewer terminal facilities, then part of the site becomes available for development - not residential but commercial."

With the regulator's permission, Moylan would also try the same funding approach pioneered elsewhere. "They continue to put up the landing charges as if the investment in the old airport is still continuing but won't actually be happening," he says. "So we snaffle the money from that to help fund the new airport."

The crucial difference, though, is that Heathrow is privately-owned, with a regulated asset base - the regulator's proxy for its value - of almost £15bn. Wouldn't BAA want compensation up front? "That's one possibility," says Moylan. "I don't know whether it's £10bn or £15bn. They're your figures, though I'm not disputing what you say particularly. A commercial negotiation has to take place. You might have to buy it outright. You might say carry on earning a return over a period and we'll buy it from you at the end. Or maybe we give you something else like a stake in the new airport."

Moylan continues: "BAA is not the only party in this. Clearly there are some costs to the airlines of moving, though these are not necessarily cash. They could be discounts on landing charges." Add it all up and that looks like a £70bn new airport. Moylan won't talk numbers but admits: "I have never said a new airport can be built without public funds. I think roads and rail connections will probably have to be paid for by the public sector but they are not just for the airport - they are opening up the economy of south-east England."

Unlike railways, "airports are profitable", he stresses. "There will be private sector interest as long as there is political commitment." Suggest that, conservatively, the taxpayer will be in for at least £30bn and Moylan shoots back: "£2bn a year on the transport budget over 15 years is perfectly do-able. The fact is the airport will only get built if the Government makes it their policy. Our job is to get the Government to take it seriously and make it their policy. That will unlock the resources." He pauses. "The way of the world is you can make it happen if you want to make it happen."


Andrew Parker in London - Financial Times - 1 October 2012

Europe's airlines are set to record a bigger than expected $1.2bn net loss this year, partly because the number of passengers travelling in first or business class is declining, the industry's trade body said on Monday.

The International Air Transport Association raised its industry forecast for 2012, saying carriers across the world should record a combined net profit of $4.1bn, up from a previous estimate of $3bn, because some airlines are increasing fares. But Iata warned that Europe's airlines were still suffering from the effects of the eurozone sovereign debt crisis and it increased their expected net loss in 2012 from $1.1bn to $1.2bn.

"The eurozone crisis is continuing despite the best efforts of politicians," said Tony Tyler, IATA's director-general. "Not only is the economy weak... Europe has some very unfriendly conditions for doing [aviation] business - onerous regulations, high taxes... and an air traffic management system badly in need of modernisation."

Leading European airlines such as International Airlines Group and Lufthansa rely on their long-haul operations - notably over the north Atlantic - for much of their earnings. But Iata highlighted how in July, the number of passengers travelling first or business class over the north Atlantic fell by 2.4 per cent compared with the same period last year.

IATA's closely watched industry profit forecast highlighted some respite for carriers elsewhere in the world. The trade body lifted its net profit estimate for US carriers in 2012 from $1.4bn to $1.9bn. This is primarily because, following mergers between several US airlines including United and Continental, some are raising fares rather than making large increases in capacity.

Iata upgraded its net profit forecast for Asian airlines in 2012 from $2bn to $2.3bn after concluding that weakness in their cargo operations would be more than offset by rising passenger demand, notably in China.

Fast-expanding Middle East carriers - led by Emirates Airline - are increasing their share of international passenger traffic, and Iata raised its net profit estimate this year from $400m to $700m. However, Mr Tyler highlighted how, even if carriers recorded a net profit of $4.1bn in 2012, it would be less than half the $8.4bn reported last year, primarily because of economic weakness and high fuel prices. In its first estimate for 2013, Iata is predicting airlines will see a further improvement in earnings and record net profit of $7.5bn.

Meanwhile, Mr Tyler urged the EU to consider suspending its contentious scheme under which European and non-European airlines must pay for their carbon pollution. He said the scheme should be halted while the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the UN agency, attempts to devise a global scheme to tackle industry carbon emissions.


Statement by UK Civil Aviation Authority - 1 October 2012

The UK's aviation safety regulator today welcomed new EU rules that will standardise working hours for European airline pilots. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the new rules will benefit UK passengers and will not compromise safety. The CAA said it was pleased that the EU's final draft, published today, includes several additional changes requested by the regulator, such as a 16 hour cap on combined airport standby and flight duty, plus additional requirements for the management of night time flight duty.

The new 'flight time limitations' for pilots and cabin crew have been developed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the EU body now responsible for rule-making in areas of European aviation such as flight operations, airworthiness and licensing. It follows an extensive consultation period involving an array of aviation authority safety experts, scientists, airline associations and pilot and cabin crew union representatives.

Under the new system the CAA will have far greater access to airline information to help oversee fatigue management of airline crew members. High levels of reporting by airlines of their compliance with the new flight time limitations will be required. Enforcement action will be taken if necessary.

Gretchen Haskins, Director of Safety Regulation at the CAA, said: "Passenger safety is our number one priority, which we will never compromise. We are convinced that EASA's flight time limitation regulations will improve accountability and transparency in the European aviation industry, maintaining the UK's high safety levels and increasing safety for many UK travellers."

The CAA said its endorsement of EASA's flight time limitations was based on its extensive knowledge, operational oversight, research projects and engagement with scientists, adding that the new regime will provide a sound basis to maintain the UK's current high safety levels.

1. EASA's recommendations are expected to be adopted into EU law by mid 2013 and fully implemented by the middle of 2015.

2. The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint.


Statement by the British Airline Pilots' Association - 1 October 2012

The British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) has spoken out against an EASA proposal to change flight and duty time regulations for commercial pilots. Jim McAuslan, BALPA General Secretary, said: "There are one or two improvements in this iteration of the rules but, by and large, these proposals are even worse than the previous draft."

The organisation has said that the new rules could see pilots doing twice as many early starts in a row compared to current UK standards, being on duty fifteen per cent more over two weeks, flying longer than scientists say is safe, and spending thirty per cent longer on standby before being called for duty (meaning that they could be awake for over 24 hours).

Mr McAuslan added: "Let me be clear. This is not about pilots wanting to work less. The overall number of hours pilots will fly in a year will remain the same, but the distribution of those hours can be done in a safe, or unsafe way. The UK currently has the safest skies in Europe, but the Government seems ready to ditch all that in favour of harmonisation. Neither pilots nor the travelling public will understand the sense in that."

"We will be meeting the Transport Minister, Simon Burns, later this month. If he insists that the Government has to adopt these new rules, he must commit to 'safety enhancements' to cover black holes, which would otherwise be a safety reduction for the UK."

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